A.S. Face 1395: Caitlin Robertson
Of all the things I was told to expect in my first year of marriage, being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease was not one. In 2012, my husband and I had been married for four months when I began experiencing joint pain and swelling. Less than three months later, at age 26, I was diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis.
My AS presented itself in a funny way: my big toe got so swollen and painful, it hurt to walk more than a block or so. Over the next two months, my symptoms progressed quickly and I began to feel more intense pain in other joints. A blood test confirmed the presence of HLA-B27, and an MRI confirmed inflammation in my SI joints.
After trying a series of NSAIDs, I have seen great personal success with Enbrel weekly to cut back on almost all pain and inflammation. I also worked with a personal trainer to create a series of videos with exercises specific to people with AS. Those videos can be found at the below links.
It’s difficult to suffer from an invisible disease, especially when it comes out of nowhere. My experience with AS has taught me that I have so much to be thankful for, and that even in the face of a chronic illness I can be an example of hope, faith and humility. My husband and I are expecting our first child in December 2014, and although my pregnancy has been impacted by AS, I know I am blessed beyond measure by my friends, family and community who have rallied to support us.
November 11, 2014
California, United States of America