A.S. Face 0261: Jenni Kirschbaum
My name is Jennifer, my friends call me Jenni. I started noticing symptoms of my AS in 2002, after the birth of my second child. I hurt all the time, was exhausted, bad memory and especially my right hip felt out of the socket. My OB/GYN said it was post-part um depression and put me on anti-depressants. My hip and rest of my body hurt, everyone kept telling me, “well, with your hip hurting and the accommodating for that pain, of course your back, feet, neck, etc will hurt” I accepted this and hobbled on. I went to chiropractors, massage therapists, physical therapists, etc. Finally, after 6 years a Dr. finally “heard” me and ordered a MRI of my hip. The MRI came back and they immediately sent me to an orthopedic surgeon. I went to the appointment and was told very non-chalantly, since the degeneration is so bad your only option is to get a total hip replacement. I thought he had the wrong, patient, or chart, or both!! I was told I had “osteoarthritis” – no blood tests were done – they just willingly chalked up a 38-year old needed a total hip replacement with this generic diagnosis!! Which, at the time I accepted, moved on and thought “I am better now!!. or at least I was hoping, praying, that I was better!!. Three years later I am crying again in another Drs office. I was there with my son, who had strep throat. I asked the Dr. to test me as well, I had been feeling pretty sick too. He said, “Do you feel achy?” Thats when the tears literally started running down my face. ” Dr., I always feel achy. I always feel like I have the flu. But I just feel worse today than usual!” He looked at me stunned and compassionately and said, “You should not feel like this! We need to figure out why this is happening to you!” He sent me to a rhuematologist! Thank goodness. I finally found out in 2010 that I am not crazy and I had this auto immune disorder called Ankylosing Spondylitis. So, here I am. I am currently taking Enbrel and fighting everyday to maintain a normal, which is MY normal. I am not a typical mom – I do what I can, when I can and sometimes I have to say, “mommy cant do that today.”
Which breaks my heart. May we continue to grow as a community and support each other and all others that have this and any other invisible disability.
Idaho United States of America