A.S. Face 0437: T.K.
I have Ankylosing Spondylitis, Rheumatoid Arthritis and Lupus. I am happily married to a very super supportive husband. I also am a proud momma of two wonderful children. Just a year ago, I was still on my 15 year long search of why I felt the way I did which has become commonplace for me since my teenage years. While at an appointment at MD Anderson for a non- related issue my doctor that I follow up with was going through my chart with me and asking about certain symptoms that concerned her. She said that these symptoms weren’t cancer related symptoms but that they actually sounded like autoimmune to her. She then recommended that I see a rheumatologist after my treatment. But I continued to experience the severe pain that wouldn’t go away. Daily it seemed it got worse, my body was so stiff, my hands and feet…everything was so swollen. Meanwhile, that autoimmune word stuck with my husband and I for a few days. So we hit the “interweb” searching for the answers as to why she thought that be autoimmune. However, my primary doctor had already tested me and “ruled out” autoimmune twice to our knowledge. Then I remembered I had a friend with RA who happened to be part of a non-profit organization, The Blue Ribbon Project, so I started following her page more closely. Around that same time, my mother in law had a similar diagnosis and comparing notes, the pieces continued to fall into place. I made an appointment that Monday with my primary doctor, and because he was is so wonderful, he got me in touch with an awesome Rheumatologist that agreed to see me two days later. No kidding, in the 10 minutes after meeting her, she gave me a differential diagnosis of Ankylosing Spondylitis and Rheumatoid Arthritis. This is after 15 years of doctor to doctor with no answers, people saying “it’s in my head” or treating me like it was. People telling me you’re too young to feel so bad or you must be depressed or you need a better diet, oils, etc. You name it, I’ve heard it as I’m sure most of my AS and other AI disease friends have. My primary doc believed I had some autoimmune disease but he couldn’t prove it through his testing. So with a little faith and a lot of persistence we finally got a diagnosis. Once we knew the name of the problem, we knew how to fight it. So my fight continues! I now battle Lupus too, although I can’t truly tell a difference between which flare up I am having on certain days. But I am in a constant flare of some sort, but my medicine is helping somewhat and we are still searching for more answers. Methotrexate and Humira have helped me. I am also on a low starch diet. I do yoga as much as I can to stretch so I can try to have better motion and some days it does help. I use essential oils, I pray, I’m sure there is something here I’m forgetting. Ah yes, I reach out to you all on our support groups, I laugh and cry with you all and our commonalities. Emotionally and physically, I’m in such a better place than I was in the past because of my husband, my children, my mother, my Mother- in- Law, and my friends at the Blue Ribbon Project and at Faces of Ankylosing Spondylitis!
Texas, United States of America