A.S. Face 0997: Richelle Rippe

Face 997

My Name is Richelle Rippe. I am 39 years old and have been dealing with AS pain since I was 18. I wasn’t diagnosed, or had even heard of AS, till I was 35. For almost 20 years I went to many Physicians with no answers….mostly being told in round about ways that it’s in my head or it’s from depression. I am not a depressed person, you just tend to get fed up when you have so much pain and stiffness without an explanation. When I was finally diagnosed I could have done a cartwheel….but we know that’s not possible..haha. It was such a relief! Through my journey, my Husband, friends and family have been my rock and support. I am so lucky to have such an understanding and supportive Husband! Not too many people can deal with their partner always having something wrong. I have two beautiful children. With my last pregnancy I had to stop working at 4 months because I couldn’t walk…..my pelvic pain was so bad….now I know why. I am a Nurse and LOVE what I do….so I am on Remicade infusions to keep me moving…..because I refuse to let AS dictate my life. I an fusing in my Thoracic and Cervical spine…..my says my AS jumps vertebrae….yay huh haha. So my bottom (SI joint), middle of my back and neck give me trouble most of the time…..honestly I try to ignore it as much as possible….with pain meds of course. I have been following Faces since it started. I’m glad I finally wrote mine, it’s actually a bit cathartic. I know I’ve jumped here and there, but as all AS patients know…..the story is way too long to fit in a couple paragraphs. I am very thankful to ASAP, Kelly and Cookie. I hope they know how much of a positive impact they have made to soma ny people! Okay, I’m off to watch USA Soccer Team beat Mexico now 😉

PS…a little side note….all of the AS sufferes I’ve met in life and in Nursing practice have been WOMEN….so “It’s a mans disease” is a bunch of Malarky!!

California, United States of America


2 Responses to “A.S. Face 0997: Richelle Rippe”

  1. Dear Richelle,
    Thank you so much for sharing your story with us.
    Sincerely Cookie

  2. Hi richelle,
    Although I have yet to be diagnosed (actually have been procrastinating following up w my rhuematologist after a lumbar X-ray and she doesn’t believe positive gene results is a diagnosis – because having the gene doesn’t mean someone has AS) but I’ve been suffering for 25 yrs with achiness that I attributed to fatigue (more than body aches) – but more recently have been experiencing joint pains now. I also have dry, inflammed eyes & ulcerative colitis for 20 yrs. my apprehension w receiving a diagnosis is my fear of the potent RXs & side effects – i tend to have adverse reactions (even w prednisone).
    Anyway, thank you for your story – I admire your attitude about it but most of all I couldn’t agree more about women being affected by AS. It is so evident by the number of women faces here opposed to men! I believe drs are more quick to think women have psychological issues first – I think this attitude needs to be corrected. Should I receive an AS dx (which is more than likely – my grandfather had it too) I plan to write doctors that could not dx me to help build their exposure to the disease and other similar ailments that are difficult to dx so they have more compassion when treating their patients.
    Best wishes.

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