A.S. Face 0917: Heather
My name is Heather and I am 38 and I have AS. Although I also have other autoimmune diseases, AS is the most dominant and active of them. I lost count to the number of Rheumatologist’s that I saw before I finally found someone to listen to me. My pain really took a turn in 2009, 18 months after the birth of my daughter and 6 months after battling an unknown illness (likely West Nile Virus). I made a list of my symptoms, tests and everything else I could remember and headed to a new Rheumatologist. When the students walked in the room, they already had an idea as to what was going on and that was confirmed when the doctor walked in. He explained what he thought it was, ordered the labs which included the HLA-B27 gene. Less than a week later he called to tell me it was positive. Unfortunately he was promoted not too long after that and was no longer seeing patients. I finally found my current Rheumatologist and he diagnosed me with HLA-B27 arthropathy. He didn’t confirm AS right away because I also had Psoriasis that started in 2009. After 2 1/2 years of seeing him, with no progression of anything other than severe back pain, plus recent discussions with the family regarding my great grandfather having AS, my diagnosis was confirmed.
I have my good days and bad days, like anyone else. I will continue to be positive fight this disease head on!
Texas, United States of America