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.

 🙂 Heidi

Texas United States of America


2 Responses to “A.S. Face 0455: Heidi Waltz”

  1. Jeania (face 452), I hope you’re still reading the FACE’s. I think Heidi just provided the hope you were looking for. Nine years on Enbrel.

  2. Dear Heidi,
    Thank you so much for sharing your story with us.
    Sincerely Cookie

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