A.S. Face 0743: Linnea
My name is Linnea. I’m 36 years old, and live in my home state of California with my husband and our two children. I began experiencing some symptoms of AS as a teen, although it didn’t become obvious until a decade later. After having our first child, I had my first flare, and after our second child was born my health went downhill fast. The first big flare was crippling sacral pain, classic presentation for ankylosing spondylitis. My doctor at the time suspected auto-immune arthritis, but blood tests were not conclusive. So began many years of struggling to get treatment and finally diagnosis.
My AS affects my sacrum, heels and other entheses, thoracic spine and sternum, and recently my cervical spine and hips. I also have sub-clinical colitis, ear and kidney issues. I was officially diagnosed in 2011 and began treatment with NSAIDs and steroids. The NSAIDs caused too many stomach issues. Humira was somewhat helpful, but the effects wore off quickly and I was having to take the shots every 10 days. Recently we switched to Simponi, which is working much better. I am not in remission, but my life is manageable. I stopped eating gluten, which resulted in a weight loss of 50 pounds and a huge reduction in symptoms. I also take a probiotic, vitamin D and do some yoga when possible.
My children are now in elementary school and I am very active in working with their schools, as well as pursuing my own studies in art and botanical illustration. Struggling with AS has convinced me that I must try to live the best life I can. My life is busy and full of supportive, wonderful people who remind me to care for myself, and help me when my body is less capable. I feel tremendously lucky to have finally found the right diagnosis and good treatment. As medical science advances, I also have great hope for the future of everyone living with AS. I am especially grateful for the internet for bringing together places like this project and the AS support forums. Knowing that I am not alone has made all the difference.
Menlo Park, California United States of America