A.S. Face 1161: Alaina

Face 1161

Hello, My name is Alaina, I’m 16 years old, and I have Ankylosing Spondylitis. The pain started when I was around the age of 8. It was in my knees and feet and doctors just brushed it off as flat feet and growing pains. I being the little girl that I was, accepted this and moved on, but then at around age 11-12 my feet worsened. I couldn’t walk any long distances without my feet being in extreme pain, so I went to a podiatrist. He tried his best, but could not figure out the problem. I was then referred to a children’s hospital. At the children’s hospital, I saw an orthopedist, he concluded that I had a Vitamin D deficiency. I once again accepted this and moved on, but a few months later, my life was flipped upside down. I was about 13 now and my hip began to hurt. I assumed that I had a sprain and just kept walking and refusing to go back to the doctor, but it got worse than I had ever expected. It became hard for me to get out of chairs, I limped with every step I took, and I couldn’t even tie my own shoes. It’s as if I aged 70 years in 2 weeks. I finally went back to the doctor and he realized that he made a terrible mistake. I had blood work and all kinds of medical imagining, which was physically and mentally exhausting, but I found the cause to all my problems. He told me that I had Ankylosing Spondylitis w/ secondary Chondrolysis. The first thought in my mind was, isn’t that a dinosaur? I was then referred to the Rheumatology department and have had an amazing doctor ever since.

I continue to go to the children’s hospital and I am thankful that I can take enbrel, which has been working for 3 years. I still have some “flares” sometimes, but I’m like any other teenager and I can virtually do anything I put my mind to. No disease can bring me down.

New Jersey, United States of America

6 Responses to “A.S. Face 1161: Alaina”

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

  2. This is no good…when a young person gets AS so early. BUT…this is so good…when they find a medicine that returns them to a normal life..so soon. I have to say…how come Enbrel doesn’t sponser this site! LOL. there’s so many Enbrel success stories (It helped me a lot too Alaina). So happy for you Alaina. Stay in school, get good grades, go to college…and become a fricken doctor!

  3. Hi Alaina,
    Thanks so much for sharing your story. It is remarkably similar to that of Adi, my 16 yr old daughter. You may want to watch the video she made about herself and AS for a community service project.

    All the best of health to you!

  4. Thank you for sharing your story. I can relate to being told it was “just growing pains” when I was a pre-teen. There is a website by a nonprofit organization (a charity) dedicated to teens with AS. I am sure your participation there would be very helpful to other teens. http://teens.spondylitis.org/

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