A.S. Face 1535: Andrew

Face 1535

Hey guys my names Andrew, my story dates back in 2004 I was in fairly great shape, playing football ect. One night as I slept my lower back just started hurting like crazy. I thought it was just a fling thing, until it started hurting on and off everyday. I went  to my parents about the situation, my initial reaction was to quit playing football as I thought that was my problem. The pain went on for about six months on and off or so. I once again told my parents,  I believe I need to see a dr something is not right. I was 18 when I saw my first spine specialist at the start of my senior year in high school. I had 3 MRI’s done of my back, none of which showed nothing. The dr basically said continue to be active and see if it helps I graduated high school spring of 2005 everything seemed to be ok, but I was taking Advil for the pain and discomfort. After high school I went into construction before starting college.(bad mistake) not only did I notice a lot of changes, but the pain sometimes would knock the wind out of me. Like a fool I put off going back to the dr and tried to tough it out. That’s when I started to notice a little shrinking in my height. It was a slow progress, but I continued doing things normally. In April of 2008 my life forever changed. I had been experience heavy pain in my right shoulder, so not only did I have my back issue. Also dealing with the shoulder problem as well. Due to pain in both areas, I was taking more amounts of Advil just to make it easier for me to be able to function.

      I finally said enough and went into the Dr. The dr did a MRI of my shoulder and found out I had a frozen shoulder. The problem was so bad there was no cartilage left in my shoulder, the only option I had was full shoulder replacement surgery. I mentioned to my dr that I was experiencing severe back pain. They concluded after a series of tests that said I had osteoarthritis. With my surgery, I became the youngest person at the age of only 21 to have a full shoulder replacement, in the state of Minnesota with out any injury to it. When the dr got done performing my surgery, he told my parents my shoulder was so bad that it was nothing but one solid bone where the socket and joint where my shoulder connects. After 15 months of rehab, I assumed everything was ok. The drs however didn’t give me anything for my back pain, and told me to continue to be active. I still noticed my shrinking happening, and more so I noticed that I couldn’t tilt my head back anymore. It was hard for me to turn my neck, and people asked me all the time if I was in a accident or had a bad back. My posture started to become a huge issue as well, where I noticed my flexibility was completely not right anymore. I went to school to work in medical field, it was a great job, but really hard on my body. I moved up north to work at a nursing home was living on my own, still experiencing bad pain, but it was limited to me smoking pot to help the pain and taking Advil and alcohol. I guess I wasn’t in the best of situations. I was at the point where I would do anything to help with the pain, still uncertain of what was causing me this discomfort, even after I was told about me having osteoarthritis, I knew something else was going on. I didn’t waste my time going to the dr and wasting money I didn’t have to spend on dr visits. Then a miracle happen. On July 24th 2014 I threw my back out riding passenger in a low car, that hit the pot hole and bottomed out. I went into the emergency room only to be released 1hour later with a lower lumbar strain. I was out of work for a week, I went back into the dr one week later to have my check up on my back. When the dr noticed a message by the radiologist, stating strong suspicion of Ankylosing Spondylitis. I was in shock because I had never heard of it before. She gave me a packet of what it was, I went home that night to read, much to my surprise everything it was stating about AS; I had experienced. Then the time came to find out finally, officially, if I had AS and finally maybe something could be done about the pain I have been feeling for almost 10 years. On September 14 2014 I was officially diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis. My dr had advised me my hips are really bad, and will need to be replaced in 5-10 years from now. Also advised me I should not work as being a CNA, I resign from my job, and had to move out of my apartment, and move back down to the cities with my parents at 28 years old. To reinvent my career, and also myself. From 2005-2015 I have lost 5 inches off my height from this disease, an my neck is totally fused together with my back on it’s way, I have started humira to help the inflammation. I have noticed a huge difference while using this medication, somedays the pain is good other times are bad. I am off of using Advil, and now only take one pill of naproxen twice a day for pain. Hitting that pot hole saved my life. I’m still learning everyday about AS. I am much more confident in
My self now that I know what’s going on with my body. This is my story.
Minnesota, United States of America

7 Responses to “A.S. Face 1535: Andrew”

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

  2. Dear Andrew, your story has truly touched my heart.I hope the best for you and miss talking to you. Hope to see you soon:)

  3. You’ve had a rough go. Thank you for sharing this with us all.

  4. You’ve had a hard go. Thank you for sharing all this with us.

  5. Andrew: You’ve had quite a journey with A.S. already, especially being so young! I wish you all the best with the biologics. If the one you are taking stops working, try another one. There is a lot of ‘trial and error’ with this disease regarding which drugs work best for you. I, too, have lost some height, although not as much as you. I was 5′ 11″ and a half, and now I am about 5′ 9″. I am sad about this, but there is nothing I can do about it. Thank God you hit the pot hole, you may not have known for years later that you have A.S.! I wish you all the best in your journey with A.S. God bless!

    Sincerely, Stephania #445 and Bradley (my son, #1487)

  6. Thank you all for your kind words, it has been a huge life changer for me. I get this question a lot when I do tell people my story about how much advil I was taking. Well I was taking 12 a day just to stay a float. I know that seems like a incredible amount, it was but I managed the most of what I had. Please if you guys have any questions for me at all don’t hesitate to ask me, I would more than happy to answer any personal info or general questions. Keep strong warriors.


  7. Good to hear from another Minnesotian A.S.’r. Thanks for sharing your story it helps to hear from another ‘local’ person. -jason in mnpls (a.s. face 1328)

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