A.S. Face 0968: Chelsey Gann
My name is Chelsey Gann. I am a 27 year old mother of 2. My husband and I are Jr High School sweethearts. We have been together 15 years and married 8 of those. Our kids are 5 and 2. I am an xray tech/CT tech at our local hospital. I was diagnosed with IBS at 15 and had broken several bones before the age of 14. I wasn’t ever officially diagnosed with a calcium deficiency but now that I’m in the medical field I believe that could’ve been a possibility. Just after the birth of my youngest child I started to notice shortness of breath and some heart palpitations. I saw my PCP and she sent me to a cardiologist thinking i had a bundle branch block. Honestly from the beginning of my cardio appt. with him i could tell he didn’t believe there was anything wrong with me. He went ahead and did a 24 hr halter monitor and a stress echo on me to make sure but told me they were both normal and i was fine. I left his office no better off than i came. A few months later my 2nd symptom started. I began to have inflammation and pain in my right eye and eyelid. I saw an eye dr and he prescribed some antibiotics and some steroid cream. The cream worked well and I still use it when my eye flares up. Just after that I began to have numbness in my legs when I would sleep at night. My youngest child woke up crying one night and I jumped up to check on her. When my feet hit the floor I realized that I had no feeling in my legs at all and I fell into a heap beside the bed. Other than being in shock I didn’t feel any pain right away. Over the next few days I began to get sore. By the weekend I felt like I’d been hit by a truck. Every muscle in my body hurt. After a few weeks I felt better and had all but forgotten about the fall. One night I bent over to pick up a plate from the coffee table and felt something “slip” in my back. I couldn’t get back up. I had to call my husband at work and get him to come home and help me. I ended up seeing one of our ER physicians in the next couple of days and he ordered a CT of my lumbar spine. The results came back negative. He told me he thought I needed an MRI and to see my PCP. I was able to get in to see my PCP the next week and she scheduled an MRI. The MRI showed a small bulging disc and some mild disc degeneration. I started on some steroids and muscle relaxers and started wearing a back brace at work and at home when I was cleaning the house or bathing the kids. Now, this is the part of the story where I feel like an idiot- I scrutinize every CT I perform and have even caught several misreads by radiologists as reports have come back BUT in my own case I never even looked at my own images. Almost a year and a half after my back pain, chest pain, SOB, and eye problems started I also had several other symptoms- urinary incontinence, heel, wrist, shoulder, tspine, cspine, and knee pain. My right buttock and right hip ached constantly. I was at work working on my continuing education credits and the section was about RA and it’s subtypes. I was really interested in it because my 13 year old sister has Oligoarticular JRA. I came across the section about AS and froze. I’d never heard of AS before and in one paragraph I saw all of my symptoms including what affected SI joints might look like on CT. My coworker and I went and pulled my CT exam up on the computer from May 2012 and when I saw my right SI joint I about fell in the floor. From about midway down it was completely fused. I was now seeing a new PCP as my other one had moved to a new town so I took my CT images to her along with the article and she immediately did an arthritis panel and called a rheumatologist. I was positive for HLA-B27. Since then I’ve had 2 episodes where my right leg has stopped working completely for several hours. Had I not realized what could be causing it I would’ve been extremely freaked out. I just went yesterday for my 1st rheumatology appt. My cervical spine has lost all lordosis, my right SI joint is completely fused, and my tspine is squared off and inflamed along with inflammation in my left jaw and a few other small joints. I will start Simponi injections tomorrow on my 28th birthday. Although I’m not thrilled about having to get a shot for my birthday I am hopeful that it will be the 1st day to my road to recovery.
Arkansas, United States of America