A.S. Face 0493: Alex Seidman

My name is Alex Seidman, I am 22 years old and recently found out that I have AS. This all started my first week at East Carolina University. Before then I had felt fine, although I always seemed to get sick more often then the people around me and I would always stay sicker longer.
During my first week at ECU I developed an episode of iritis, my eye doctor told me that it could last a few weeks but would most likely never come back. This episode lasted the entire semester and drastically effected my grades. At student health when I asked for excused passes from class because of the terrible migraines the iritis caused I was told to “suck it up” and wear sunglasses. When I went to student health for the back pain that later started up I was told it was nothing and the doctor I saw there refused to write me a referral to a specialist, but said she could refer me to the school psychiatrist “to talk about my hypochondria”. After this embarrassment I ignored the pain for almost 2 years, but still got recurrent flare-ups of iritis.
Finally, at the beginning of the 2011 fall semester my eye doctor urged me to figure out what was wrong with my immune system before the iritis caused me to develop glaucoma. This began a year and a half worth of testing that came with no results. As far as my doctors were concerned I was perfectly healthy. My back pain got so sever that my primary physicians PA referred me to an orthopedist, who then diagnosed me with an S-I joint disfunction and a herniated disk.  When I brought this information to my rheumatologist he decided to do an MRI of my pelvis. Within a day of the MRI I received a call that we finally had an answer! I was not crazy or over exaggerating, my pain was real and I now had an answer!

I have now been on Remicade for 13 days and will receive my next injection tomorrow. I can now walk normally, I have been swimming, and even though I cannot drink, I plan on going out with my girlfriend and dancing, to enjoy the end of my college career! I am so thankful for the support system I have: my mom, who has been there no matter how whiney I get, my dad, who always has suggestions and worries enough for 10 people, my boyfriend, who sits at doctors appointments with me (when he could still be sleeping at 8am) and pretty much took care of me when I was having sever episodes, and my friends who slow down what their doing so that I can keep up.
North Carolina United States of America

5 Responses to “A.S. Face 0493: Alex Seidman”

  1. hello and welcome alex my god your very young to get this horrible disease i really hope remicade works for you if i can help in any way drop me a line anytime,dermot

  2. Hi Alex: Welcome to the group! I read the part of your story where it said that you were always sicker than others–me too. I would be sick ALL the time, and I would pick up everything! You are so young–I am so happy to hear you are walking normally with the Remicade. I am going on Enbrel soon (I am currently on Methotrexate). As I tell my son, don’t ever let medical people tell you that you need a psych when you tell them your symptoms! To me, that tells me that they don’t want to help you!

  3. You had iritis for a fricken semester? I want to slap your eye doctor. I’m probably wrong, but I thought AS was the only thing that caused it. My opthamlogist said “ankylosing spondylitis” the day he looked into my iritis. He’s the one who made the rhuemy appointment!

    Oh well, let’s not dwell on what might have been when we can focus on what eventually got done-and that was a diagnosis. And once again…you seem to be on “Remicaid” pretty fast, it took me like five years to get on Enbrel…so that seems to mean that the Rhuemys are skipping a lot of the NSAID crap and going right for the AS jugular. REmicaid and Enbrel are like taking a baseball bat and beating AS down into a bloody pulp lying before your feet (can anyone tell I had a bad day at work!!!). And then Alex, you’ll be able to step over it and get on with your wonderfull young life.

    PS(and tell your boyfriend to get rid of that damn nose ring…who the hell does he think he ……OK, OK, I’ll go take my codiene and find my quiet place)

  4. Dear Alex,
    Thank you so much for sharing your story with us.
    Sincerely Cookie

  5. Thank you for all the encouragement and support! It is very nice to know that there are other people who understand and care! I hope to become an active user (now that I have figured out how to log in lol) .

    @Dermot- Thank You!

    @ Stephania- I agree with what you said so much! I wish someone had told me that years ago, I hope the Enbrel works for you!

    @Derek- Its really interesting, after doing some research on iritis (when i was still going through the diagnostic stage) I found that there are almost 60 different things that can cause iritis, including chronic illnesses, viruses/STDs, and certain cancers. Also, I agree with the baseball bat analogy, because with the Remicaid its like this thing is gone and I plan to continue to beat it to a pulp!

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