A.S. Face 0381: Louise Ruel

My name is Louise Ruel and I am 38 years old. I have A.S. and this is my story. My favorite thing in the world is watching my kids play sports…I reflect to a magical time in my youth….around the same age as my 10-year-old daughter….I stayed back that year because I was always out of school “sick” or on crutches. Regardless I was very athletic….My knees would “give out” while I was running…and down I would go. My knees hurt…condramaplasia of the patela is what they found….odd is what the thought…fast forward through a 10 year period with 4 bouts of VERY RARE skin problems and achyness. Random autoimmune stuff they thought. My body reacted to EVERYTHING…My Sed rate was always high…and I even reacted to myself. It was age 20 that they told me I probably wouldn’t maintain a pregnancy…because my body was “attacking itself”. Still no diagnosis.
I met Paul in 1997, a year later we were riding horses and I was thrown onto a very frozen ground…I hurt my back and saw a ortho for backs…He told me that I had broken my “scotty dogs head off on of my vertebrea”….and that was unusual….my L5 showed some spondoloarthropathy….hmmmm. Off to a Rheumatologist who was my story-teller. Dr. Parker diagnosed me with AS in 1999. I was 26….so 16 years after my pains started at age 10.  Through imaging studies he saw the fusing in my SI joints. He also treated me with many cortisine injection in the bottoms of my feet for enthesopathy, a disease of the tendon bone junction (where the tendon joins the bone)..That hurt a lot:-( Then came the pills, injections, and all other meds….
In 2001 I stopped all meds to have a child….I did get pregnant and carried to term…a pretty healthy baby girl with a small heart defect that got better on its own
with monitoring….she’s now 10 and I have a 7-year-old son too:-) They are my world….and VERY ACTIVE. Parenting has been a challenge year to year depending on how my AS is that year…or are the meds working…i have tried Enbral, Humaria, Sulfasalazne, methotrexate, simponi….you name it.
I stopped EVERYTHING in Oct.2011…against Dr. orders.I did it because I found I was getting just as much relief, if not more, from my chiropractor. In my case I need to keep everything from locking up…this helps me tremendously! I also fell in LOVE with Yoga!
No Meds….a little advil and I am able to be active, play softball…do yoga….play with my kids…ect, ect, ect
” Every day I  live in pain, every day is a battle, and everyday I am aware that I have AS…. But AS will NEVER have me!   Thank you for reading my story and being part of my journey. “
Connecticut United States of America

8 Responses to “A.S. Face 0381: Louise Ruel”

  1. Good for you Louise. I learn so much from reading other people’s stories. WE all have to seek our “AS equilibrium” in our own ways. And there’s that gluten and dairy free again?

  2. Lou,
    It’s 730a on Sunday and I’m lying here catching up on fb when I come across your link to this site and read your story. I have tears rolling down my cheeks as I type to you know and think “what an amazing woman she is!” your sheer will and determination amaze me. I’m so proud to call you my friend. It’s an honor to stand in your presence. I love most the line that you have AS BUT AS will not have you. I have a shirt that has that dating to for MS and I wer it weekly to workout in and it’s my reminder to continue to be string and push forward in spite of a diagnosis. AS does not define you. Thank you for sharing your story Lou. You are truly inspirational!

    Your friend always

  3. Love you my dear friend Mel…its nothing i share to much of…but this site coordinator, Cookie, mabe it safe to share….and Mel…you too with you MS…we journey this road together…but at least were enjoying thr ride:-)
    Love ya!


  4. Dear Louise,
    Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. I am happy to hear that you are doing so well.
    Sincerely Cookie

  5. Today A.S. has me:-/ Some times when we play hard (like we don’t have A.S) We are reminded by our bodies rebelious nature….today is a bad day…but I will push through the pain….and play hard all over again!

  6. Knowing you, one would never know you face these challenges daily. You always have a smile a mile wide and a heart just as big!! You are one of the best friends anyone could ask for too!! Love you!

    • Thank you Melissa…..behind my smile it a truck load of ooowwwwie:-) your a great bff ❤ ya

  7. Before my back and hip pain became too unbearable to continue, yoga was a savior for me. Not only for building a little muscle tone, but getting me into a great meditative zone. In fact, if ever I hear the yoga music I listened to week after week for years, it immediately takes me back into those trance-like times.

    Enjoy your kids, keep your great attitude, and continue to love life, and all will be well!


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