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.


Ontario Canada

2 Responses to “A.S. Face 0657: Lisa Triemstra”

  1. Dear Lisa,
    Thank you so much for sharing your story with us, and I feel the same way, I finally have a place I belong.
    Sincerely Cookie

  2. It is extremely difficult to read and listen to the pain and heartbreak being suffered by one of your children, and realize there is nothing of substance that you can do to ease her pain. Were I able I would take that pain and suffering unto myself.

    At the same time I am so proud of the way in which she has and continues to deal with this tragic illness. Her strength and fortitude are an example to all who read her story of the strength of the human spirit.

    Love Dad.

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