A.S. Face 1499: Shawna
My name is Shawna and I have AS. I live on Vancouver Island, BC Canada.
I am 34 and recently diagnosed, I have been suffering since I was 12. At that young age I was constantly told to stand up straight..not a single person would understand that I couldn’t. I couldn’t sit up out of bed in the morning and the pain in my feet and mid back was hard to deal with…much less understand. It was blamed on growing pains and one doctor just shrugged and told my mom I was going to have a bad back. In my mid 20’s I discovered I had 3 compression fractures. Before I even turned 30 it was well established that I had systemic auto immune issues (well at least to my doctor and all the specialists I saw…except the first rheumatologist..can you sense my bitterness?). The wonderful doctor I have now even thought to test for the hla b27 gene…which I don’t have. I heard about a rheumatologist in Victoria who was known for aggressive therapy so I asked for a referral to see him. A simple x-ray of my sacroiliac joints and one look was all it took for him to diagnose me with severe long standing AS. I was immediately started on humira and methotrexate. I was also diagnosed with sjogrens and undifferentiated connective tissue disease. Some times I am great…can go go go..times like now I feel like I can barely survive an hour much less the day. I feel so alone, I find I am constantly explaining this diagnoses to health professionals, I feel like I am seeking attention when I explain that I feel awful..or that I need to avoid germs due to immunosuppressive medications …When I definitely am not. Finding this site means so much to me. It means I’m not alone.
British Columbia, Canada