A.S. Face 0455: Heidi Waltz
Hi, my name is Heidi and I was diagnosed with AS in 2003 at the age of 22. I had experienced back pain on and off for about a year prior to being diagnosed. In May 2003, I had a severe case of Iritis in both eyes. My Ophthalmologist had me tested for the HLA-B27 gene, which I was positive. I am so thankful that my Ophthalmologist was so knowledgeable to ask if I was experiencing any joint pain. I was sent to a Rheumatologist who diagnosed me with AS. I started on Prednisone and Methotrexate. I had horrible side effects with these drugs (mainly Methotrexate). I stopped taking both of these medications and I started on Enbrel and have been taking it for 9 years now and have been mostly pain free with occasional Iritis flares. I still cannot believe that I was diagnosed 9 years ago.
On February 25, 2009, my husband and I were blessed with a healthy baby girl. I was extremely nervous at the thought of becoming pregnant, because I knew that I would have to stop the Enbrel. Two weeks after stopping the Enbrel, I had Iritis. About two weeks after that I had a major flare. I was in so much pain. My pain lasted two months, until I went into a full remission in my 2nd trimester. About one month after delivering my daughter by planned C-section I had a flare and went back on the Enbrel.
I am now pregnant again and have been off the Enbrel for 3 weeks. I am hoping that I don’t have such a painful flare this time. I am doing yoga and staying active, but also being mindful of my movements that might trigger a flare. I am absolutely terrified to go through that much pain again.
Thank you for all your hard work. The Faces of Ankylosing Spondylitis is such a great idea. Hoping you reach your goal soon.
Texas United States of America