A.S. Face 1512: Rick Mena

Face 1512 Face 1512A Face 1512B

After several doctors tested me for everything from TB, MS, to AIDS, I was finally diagnosed two years later with the help of a nurse practitioner who made the extra effort to do the research, then followed up with testing, and the diagnosis was finally acknowledged by her and the doctors that I have AS.
I was 19 years old when I was diagnosed, and I am 50 years old now.

My biggest issue now is because of my stiffness, I am unable to move around as much as other people.  Some say I carry myself like the Tin Man from Wizard of Oz, or I have been compared to Frankenstein with how I walk or turn. I cannot turn or bend down my neck very much, and going to the barber is always an interesting experience. My back is also stiff and doesn’t bend very well.  Because of these two issues, I have put on a bit of weight, mostly because it is difficult for me to exercise extensively.  Sometimes going shopping with my wife can wear me out easily, my feet swell up and are very painful. And finally going to the dentist is very difficult, because I cannot open my mouth as wide as the dentist would like, or as long a period as they would like, so the dentist is very tortuous to me, my jaws hurt for days afterwards.

I tried Remicaid, Humira, Embrel, but I began having violent gastric distress, and had to stop.  Now I only take Naproxen and Sulfa. I don’t like taking too many prescriptions.

But worst of all, I worry for my son, I do not want him to go through what I have gone through for so many years.

Two photos are of me and my wife goofing around, she accepts me as I am.
California, United States of America


2 Responses to “A.S. Face 1512: Rick Mena”

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

  2. Dear Rick: Welcome to our group! Your symptoms are similar to mine–it is difficult to drive, turn, and bend my neck! Take care, and know you are not alone! Stephania (Face #445)

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