A.S. Face 1248: Heather
My name is Heather. I was super active as a child. I played softball, kickball, volleyball and even cheered for a few years. Besides a few odd ailments throughout my teens I was a happy, healthy kid. In the winter of 2000, I was expecting a child of my own. My first baby boy was due in December. I went into labor a few days early and was ready to greet my son! The labor was horrible! I was forced to lie in a bed for about 32 hours. Anything that COULD have gone wrong, did it seemed. With my husband and mother by my side, my Nicholas was finally here!! Six months after this little man was born, my life took a turn for the worse. All of a sudden I couldn’t walk, stand, lie down, sit, anything without pain. Besides the stress of having an infant, now I couldn’t even handle getting up for work. Initial assessments from my doctors said that the baby had somehow thrown my back out, shifted my pelvis, something. I went to a chiropractor thinking that he could “adjust” it back into the correct alignment. One trip to him left me unable to walk for another week. I was finally referred to a rheumatologist. This was the worst doctor experience EVER. The rheumy pushed and poked very hard on every inch of my back. He then made me lay down for over an hour for an x-ray. He suggested cortisone shots that hurt worse than anything in my whole life. He told me I had sacroiliitis, prescribed me hydrocodone and steroids and basically told me to get used to being in chronic pain. I saw his nurse twice more before I decided enough was enough!! I was just 24 and was unwilling to give up on myself and my future. I searched and searched and found another rheumy. THIS doctor was my lifesaver!! He looked over the xray, did blood tests and immediately diagnosed me with AS. Although I finally had a diagnosis, I was even more confused as I had never heard of this disease. Not only that, my husband and I wanted to have another child and were lost as to how that would happen. We started immediately on biologics and did TONS of research on all other treatment and exercise options. After five years of tweaking meds, I had my health back in line and gave birth to my second and final child. Although I’ve had MANY ups and downs throughout the last 13 years, I consider myself so lucky to have been diagnosed so quickly. Biologics have kept me active and able to enjoy my life with my family and friends. I have a VERY supportive husband who takes such wonderful care of me and the boys when I can’t handle things on my own. My boys take excellent care of me as well. My mother and I are very close and she listens to me vent quite often. I have been blessed in more ways than I can even express. AS does not define me. My name is Heather. I am a mother, wife, daughter, sister and friend.
Indiana, United States of America