A.S. Face 0482: Robert Yeager

Robert Yeager – Age 28
Written by Christina Yeager (His Wife)
Ankylosing Spondylitis impacts my family in a huge way. My name is Christina Yeager. My husband, Robert, has dealt with back issues since before I met him over eleven years ago. We (and physicians) always assumed his back pain could be due to an accident in 2000 where he was hit by a truck while on foot. Over several years following his accident, his back pain gradually grew to sometimes excruciating and unmanageable pain. But…the pain only showed itself a few times a year. In between pain spells he was able to work, we started a family and he went to several physical therapy sessions. A few of these sessions would actually put him out of commission for days, unfortunately.
Like I said…the pain grew gradually over a few years. Robert’s real problems began about a year ago after he turned twenty-eight. He was in his second year at a job he had come to really enjoy. Some days he would come home in so much pain, it was even hard for him to walk, sit, stand — no matter what kind of medication he took, he couldn’t find relief. Up until half a year ago our family no longer had health insurance and we couldn’t afford for him to visit a doctor. We were barely making ends meet. When we did finally get insurance through his employment, he immediately made an appointment with a physician. The physician took some x-rays and sent him to physical therapy. Again…the physical therapy put him down for a few days every time he went.
The physical therapist actually suggested that he may have Sacroiliitis after realizing his limited mobility during the sessions. He went back to the physician with this information and she ordered up and MRI and referred him to a bone and joint specialist. The MRI revealed information that led the doctors to believe that my husband had Ankylosing Spondylitis. Robert was then sent to a Rheumatologist that reviewed the x-rays and MRI from the previous doctors. He was then diagnosed and placed on a series of medications — something for pain and an anti-inflammatory. None of which helped. Then he was placed on a stronger pain med and a different anti-inflammatory. Still…nothing. No relief. The doctor then placed him on Enbrel. We realized, after several visits, this physician was not knowledgeable in the condition and my husband changed doctors.
The new doctor gave us more information than we had learned online! We were so relieved. However, my husband’s condition with AS is stagnant and simply not going anywhere. Turns out he not only has issues in his lower back, but in his hips as well. He has his good days and he has terrible days. His medication regiment may be changed to Humira soon. Robert is cautiously optimistic that it will help. The new doctor has taken him out of work completely and our finances have taken a horrible dive. With three young children at home, we aren’t sure what to do at this point. My husband was able to draw short term disability from his employer for a short time, but now that money has stopped. I have begun looking for employment, but after staying home these last five years to raise children…I’m not sure how good my chances are. We have also begun the process of filing for SSDI benefits, but the information on the internet about the likelihood of people with AS getting help is sketchy at best.
I’ll support him and help make him as comfortable as I can. He hopes to someday be able to play with his children, go camping and fishing like he once did and return to work. We know the road ahead isn’t gonna be easy, we just got to find a way to make it work!
Tennessee United States of America

10 Responses to “A.S. Face 0482: Robert Yeager”

  1. Your love is touching. Thank you for sharing this story.
    I wish your family the best.

  2. The amount of love and dedication you have for your husband is so touching and inspiring. Its so wonderful to see a spouse of an AS patient be so supportive. I hear stories of others with AS whose spouses don’t understand or worse, don’t care or believe them. I couldn’t imagine how heartbreaking that must be. Your husband is so lucky to have such a wonderful, loving wife. Welcome to the Spondy community! We’re like a huge family!

  3. Hi Christina. I know nothing of SSDI, besides stories of how tough it can be to get on, but I’d think the fact that his new doctor ” has taken him out of work completely” and your insurance approved you for “short term disability” should be optimistic news. Don’t ya think? In the mean time. Perhaps tonight would be a good time to ask God for his help. Now…is the reason he wants to be in our lives. Open your heart. I think things are going to be much better in a year…Don’t you think?

  4. I agree with Derek. Praying that things turn around for you and your husband. I know it’s hard. You have a good heart to try to help. You are in my heart. Your situation.

  5. Lots of luck you guys, hope it all works out for you…you deserve it!!!

  6. Welcome to the group, Christina and Robert! I am praying for both of you that things will get better–and soon! Best wishes, Stephania #445

  7. Thanks. for sharing. Praying for a good outcome for you and family.

  8. Dear Christine and Robert,
    Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. Christine, I speak for many of us when I say thank you from the bottom of my heart, for being a supportive spouse and caring.
    Sincerely Cookie

  9. This is so many peoples story, and it is so sad. I can tell you as a person with AS how important you are to your husbands well being. Love and support can make a world of difference. I simple touch. Can anyone else out there contribute to this? How a simple, loving stroke can dull the pain for a moment. I wish the best for you and hope that things turn around.

  10. Thank you for sharing your husband’s (and your) story! I can totally relate on several levels. I am only 30 and was just diagnosed in November. I am also out of work on short-term disability, and I, too, have begun the process of filing for SSDI. I would highly recommend that your hubby hire a disability advocate, as he may have a better chance that way. If you would like more information, I can give you the name of who I am working with.

    Best of luck to you and your family. I also have three young children, and my husband is having to work 2 jobs to support us. It is difficult dealing with all of this, especially when you have little ones to take care of.

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