A.S. Face 0547: Alyssa Savitski

My name is and I was diagnosed with Anklyosing Spondylitis at age 26.  The first thing I noticed was lower back pain on the right side.  I just thought I slept wrong, so when the pain didn’t go away, I went to see a chiropractor.  He didn’t know exactly what was wrong, but he worked on it anyway.  Then the pain started going down my leg to the point where I could not walk without support from my husband. I went to see my primary care physician, who sent me for an X-ray, but nothing came up.  I told her how much pain I was in, but it felt like she thought I was a hypochondriac.  I felt crazy whenever I would see her.  She put me on all sorts of medications, but none worked.  After seeing the chiropractor for 6 months, he finally told me that he couldn’t do anything for me.  I had nowhere else to go.  I had so many tests that all came back normal, so my doctor gave up on me.

The worst part of the whole thing was the fact that my husband could not even hug me because the pain was so bad.  Last year, I decided to change doctors and immediately, my doctor sat back and actually listened to what I was telling her.  She sent me for some more tests and still nothing.  Then a month after my wedding, a breakthrough of sorts.  I had been having eye problems and it had gotten to the point that I could not even open my eye.  I went to the opthamologist and after the exam, he told me that I had uveitis.  He then asked if I was healthy.  I chuckled and explained everything that had been happening to me.  He told me that based on what I told him, he thought I should get some blood work to test for lupus, Lyme disease, and ankylosing spondylitis.  This was the first time anyone had suggested blood work to me.  When I went back to the eye doctor, he told me that I tested positive for the HLA-B27 gene and gave me a referral for a rheumatologist.  I seriously owe my opthamologist my life!

A few days later, my rheumatologist told me that I have ankylosing spondylitis, with the other diseases associated with it (uveitis, Achilles tendinitis, and bursitis in my hip).  I am now taking Enbrel every week and have seen a great improvement in my health.  I still have my good days and bad days, but slowly my good days are becoming the norm.  The best part of everything is that now my husband can hug me!

For anyone trying to figure out what is wrong, don’t give up!  Be persistent and don’t let anyone tell you that they know your health better than you.  Stay strong!


Pennsylvania United States of America

7 Responses to “A.S. Face 0547: Alyssa Savitski”

  1. Dear Alyssa,
    Thank you so much for sharing your story with us.
    Wishing you lots of hugs.
    Sincerely Cookie

  2. I had doctors telling me I was too young to have all these problems when I started to try to find out what was wrong with me when I was 35. My neurologist randomly tested me for HLA-B27 when I complained to him of sciatic pain. It came out positive. Still I went to several rheumatologists who said you are too young. I finally had one diagnose me with fibromyalgia, but he still ignored the lab test. Fast forward 10 years, I am now 53 years oldI had a new neurologist who sent me to physical therapy for my migraines because I have 3 herniated disks in my neck that triggered my migraines. I fell playing with my chihuahua and went to physical therapy and told them what happened. They worked on my lower spine and then next day I was in severe pain, I could barely walk. I finally went to the ER and they took x-rays and my new Neurologist and Rheumatologist ordered more x-rays and labs. My neurologist told me that I had Ankylosing Spondylitis. My rheumatologist told me it was just osteoarthritis. I was referred to and I have an appointment tomorrow with a new rheumatologist at USC to see what my treatment options are. I saw the x-rays and it looks like my lower spine and neck vertebrae were chewed up by a dog. Thanks for your story. I agree keep looking for answers.

    • I saw 3 doctors before I had an official diagnosis. One told me that I just had bursitis; he never even touched my back, which was the main source of pain. Keep on looking for the right doctor. You are your best doctor, so when they tell you something you don’t agree with, you have to stand up for yourself. I wish you the best of luck!

  3. Alyssa, thank you for sharing your story! I was diagnosed almost 3 months ago and it was uveitis that made my eye doctor suspect that I had a auto immune disorder and sent me on for testing. Amazing how the 2 are connected isn’t it?

    Brenda Dunn

    • It definitely was! I owe my eye doctor the best fruit basket in the world!!! It was truly amazing that he was able to “see” what was at the root of the problem. They always say that you can tell your health by your eyes.

  4. Thanks for sharing your story. It was the uveitis that eventually got the Dr’s on the right track with me too. Just like you I have been struggling for years and I felt they thought I was bonkers too!

    • I think that feeling crazy was the worst too! I knew what was wrong but because the doctors were saying otherwise, it must have been me. Since getting a diagnosis, I have had hand and arm tingling, so I went for an EMG and nerve conduction study. It came back normal. Now I feel like I am back at square one. But I will not give up!

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