A.S. Face 0790: Linda Cagle
My name is Linda. I’m 54 years old. I suffer from AS and this is my story:
I started having back pain in my late teens. Over the years the pain became intolerable. I went from doctor to doctor looking for answers. I heard it was growing pains, strains, sprains and later in life the pain was attributed to pregnancy. I would follow the doctors advice to no avail
In 1990 the pain became debilitating. I was carried into the doctors office. I was asked the routine questions; did you fall ? Were you in an accident ? Is it a sports injury ? I answered no to each question. The doctor was stunned. I thought, here we go again ! To my surprise the doctor was curious and wanted to find the reason for such pain. He ordered blood work and x-rays. Two days later I was given the news that I had ankylosing spondylitis. I was happy to know there was a name for my pain.
Over the next few years my condition worsened. I was experiencing increased pain and stiffness. As my health deteriorated so did my marriage. I was hurt and surprised to hear his reason for leaving. He stated he didn’t want to be married to a cripple.
This was a turning point in my life. I picked myself up, took my five children and started a new life.
I searched and found an excellent rheumatologist. He treated me with respect and as a person. He listened to me as I explained my pain and stiffness. He truly understood what I was going through. He found the right combination of medication and gradually my quality of life improved.
Today my life is fulfilling. I have Re married. My husband is sympathetic and supportive as I work through the pain and stiffness I experience on a daily basis. We have been together for ten years now and he accepts me for who I am.
My outlook on life has changed through the years. I now accept my limitations in life. I stay active and positive. I will not let AS dictate my life.
Thank you for listening to my story.
Tennessee, United States of America