A.S. Face 1498: Nicole Singleton
My pain started as a teenager. I was always told it was just arthritis (no X-ray or any other tests) and I started taking naproxen as suggested by a doctor. When I was 18 I was involved in an altercation. I was pushed down a steep flight of stairs and was kicked in my back and ribs when I was unconscious at the bottom of the steps. Unfortunately this is what it took to have someone take X-rays and MRI’s of my back. I was told I had a couple broken ribs, herniated discs and a little arthritis in my back while in the ER. My family doctor was not that concerned with the arthritis again and still wouldn’t suggest me to rheumatology. While at work I fell because my back went out and decided to see a chiropractor since my family doctor wouldn’t do anything. He did X-rays and showed me where the arthritis was and then treated me with massage and a tens unit. That worked great but I couldn’t keep affording to go back ( my insurance didn’t cover it.) I finally got a new family doctor who looked at previous X-rays and set me up with blood work ( did not test me for HLA-B27). My tests suggested ” lupus or some other autoimmune disease” FINALLY A RHEUMATOLOGY APPOINTMENT!! I was going to them for a few appointments, but then I lost my health insurance and couldn’t afford to see them anymore. At this point I had lost 2 jobs because of my pain, but finally found a job that I could do and be able to take a lot of breaks. I moved up in the company after many years with them and finally got my own stores meaning more desk work and less physical stuff. Yes I was in pain, but after living with it this long I just lived with it. Plus I really didn’t have time to go to the doctors because of the hours I put in at work. Most of my vacation/sick leave was used for other hospital stays for other issues.
In Aug 2013 I lost my job due to limitations my doctors gave me. Finally time to see doctors! I got a new appt with rheumatology and they did a whole bunch of tests ( MRI’s, X-rays and blood work) and that Aug I was diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis, RSD, tumor on my spine and herniated discs. Finally a reason for all my pain and fatigue! I am still learning about this disease and finding things that comfort me. I have found support through groups that Cookie has set up and it’s helped so much!
Ohio, United States of America