A.S. Face 1159: Adam Harshbarger
My name is Adam Harshbarger. I’m 28 years old and was diagnosed with AS in my early teens, as I had struggled with unusual flare ups in knees and ankles at extremely early ages. I struggled in sports for a number of years, coming home from football practice in junior high and icing ankles for hours until it would ultimately side line me every year. As back pain set in and further tests ran, I was diagnosed and sports ended for me at 16. I struggled throughout my teens and most of my twenties to get out of bed each day and touching my toes was impossible. I became active in weight lifting during my undergrad years as I knew staying active and as loose as possible was best..but many days flare ups were too much for my training to be anything but mediocre, if I even made it in the gym.
I was started on Enbrel by my rheumatologist about 2 years ago and it quickly allowed me to move less stiff and pain became manageable. It was as though my body finally felt as young as my peers for the first time in my life. I took advantage and took my weight training to the next level…winning 4 powerlifting meets between 2012 and 2013. My attitude and drive became elevated with the decrease in daily pain..I pursued and completed a Masters in Criminal Psychology in 2012, and now have a career I love as a masters level psychologist in a state prison. I became a husband in 2012 and a father in May 2013.
Everything was looking up, but i reminded myself daily that i am fortunate for excellent treatment and helpful doctors. I also reminded myself daily to make the most of and be thankful for each day as i am aware what the AS can do to my body as I age. As I read through many faces of AS and write today, I am currently experiencing extreme left leg pain and back pain for two weeks, struggling to walk, mimicking a pinched nerve, but likely a result of being without Enbrel for more than a month due to an insurance change and terrible service from curascript specialty pharmacy. Its all good though, this flare will pass, and frankly, Im alive and always positive. Glad to have discovered this website to relate to, very few understand AS.
I’m Adam from Lewistown, PA, and I’m a face of AS.
Pennsylvania, United States of America