A.S. Face 0657: Lisa Triemstra
My name is Lisa Triemstra, I am 41 years old. Mother of 3. I was introduced to A.S. after the birth of my 2nd child when I was 29 yrs. Old. His delivery was difficult and a week later I experienced the most intense pain in my pelvic/sacro. Joints imaginable. I was unable to walk, weight bear, or lay flat. I was in the E. R., my family doctor office and OBGYN repeatedly – and all they could come up with is they thought I must have had a cracked pelvic ring. I was 29 years old, with a 1.5 year old son at home and a new born, and walking with a cane. My chiropractor ordered a brace which I wore over my hips – as tight as possible – to keep my pelvic ring in place. It didn’t help the pain, but it was the only suggestion they had. At this point a CT scan or MRI was never suggested. For 4 years I lived like this – quit all sporting activities that involved running and drastically altered my life style. The constant words uttered from my lips were ‘watch my hip’. 3 years later we had one more child – a baby girl – and I was petrified of the delivery and experiencing the pain of the ‘cracked pelvic ring’.
My daughter was born with ease – and the pain I had experienced after the 2nd birth was not there. Instead I was having pain now further up my back. Stiffness, exhaustion, trouble breathing etc. After breaking down in tears in my family Dr office I begged for help. I was sent to an Internal Medicine specialist who reviewed my chart and was shocked that no one had sent me for a CT scan or MRI. He immediately ordered these but told me on my first consultation that he believe I had A.S. He believed the pain I had after my second son was born was the A.S. in a flare up – and he believed serious damage had been done.
I had never heard of A.S. before – and was in shock. I was the mother of 3 kids under the age of 7 – and all I could think of was why hadn’t anyone sent me for these tests. A subsequent MRI and CT confirmed A.S. and fusion in my spine as well as complete fusion of my left sacro. joint. He told me I was lucky I had my kids when I did – that the medication I would be taking would make it impossible to have more children.
I started on methotrexate first – had horrible tolerance to it – hair loss, vomiting, etc – but gained mobility! I no longer had to walk with a cane. I was on that drug for 2 years before being forwarded from my internal medicine Dr to a Rheumatoid specialist. I developed fibromyalgia, thought to be from the trauma to my body from the disease. I started nerve block treatments 2 years ago, as well as TNF blockers and have more medication to take daily that I care to mention, to help deal with the pain & control the disease.
I am lucky that I work for a hospital, in a department with Nurses, who help support my illness and understand the daily struggles.
I wish my children were never exposed to this, or see me at my worst during a flair.
My husband is my lifeline. He is strong when I am not. He lets me cry, scream or yell when I have had enough – and he pushes me to remember that even though its bad – it could be worse.
I wouldn’t wish this on anyone – and I hate starting my day wondering when I will feel worse or if I will ever feel better.
I love this website – it has given me hope to read the common stories of the patients who have written in.
Thank you – for giving me a place to feel like I belong.