A.S. Face 0260: Lauren Livesay
I am lucky to have a diagnosis of Ankylosing Spondylitis. I feel lucky because I received my diagnosis only 4 months after my symptoms developed. My story actually started 2 years prior to my diagnosis, though. I developed a case of uveitis in 2010 and my opthamologist educated me on this so-called HLA-B27 gene. Like most people, I had never heard of it. I started searching medical websites to learn more about this gene and to see how else it might affect me. Nearly two years later, I woke up one morning and my back wouldn’t bend. It was that sudden with no warning signs. Even now, when I look back, I can’t recall any warnings. Luckily, the morning stiffness would work its way out in a few hours each day. Something wasn’t right with my body, though. This pain wasn’t gym related or the back pain you get from sleeping incorrectly. I recalled what I had read on WebMD about HLA-B27 and Ankylosing Spondylitis. I found a primary care physician and told her about my theory of having AS. She supported my theory, but my x-ray and MRI weren’t showing signs of the disease yet. The inflammation levels in my body continued to increase, though. I didn’t need a sed rate test to tell me that. My swollen ankles, lower back stiffness, overall pain and fatigue were enough indication for me. My persistance with doctors continued for three months. It worked with my PCP and she got me in to see a Rheumatologist quickly. My rheumy had me take more blood tests and additional x-rays that day. At this point, I was completely frustrated and felt like I was out of blood to give. It was worth it, though, because these additional tests and x-rays confirmed the disease was present in my body. I was so relieved that on January 13th 2012 (Friday the 13th…go figure) that I could finally say, “I have Ankylosing Spondylitis.” I have been on Humira for three weeks and started seeing results the morning after my first injection. These results are not typical so I call it my “Humiracle.” I am slowly working my way back into my normal life. I may not ever feel the same way I did prior to the onset of Ankylosing Spondylitis, but the new me is equally as strong.
Charolette North Carolina United States of America