A.S. Face 1563: Amanda
Hi, my name is Amanda, I’m 31 and I was recently diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis. My lower back and SI joint pain started around age 14. It’s very hard to get doctors to believe that a person at such a young age is experiencing back pain. I complained and complained to my mom until she finally set me up an appointment to see a doctor. I went through a series of X-rays that came back showing a slight curvature in my middle back, and nothing more. I went through physical therapy but nothing seemed to help. As I started getting older I noticed that my back pain got progressively worse. Especially at night and early morning. I had gotten to the point where I was going through 12 extra strength Tylenol a day just to be able to barely function. I knew something wasn’t right. At 31 I knew this couldn’t be normal pain from getting older. The Alternating SI joint pain (which at this point I was convinced my sciatic nerve was pinched) was getting so bad I had to take multiple breaks at work, and every slight movement while laying in bed at night would jolt me awake. I finally broke down and made an appointment with my family doctor. I told her everything! And there sure was a lot to tell. I know she could see the desperation and exhaustion on my face and she knew something wasn’t right. I was sent for more X-rays and blood work and she called me back a few days later to tell me that the X-rays were showing sclerosis on both SI joints. A slight widening on the left side and an almost complete fusion on the right. My sed rate wasn’t elevated, so she sent me to a rheumatologist for more extensive blood work. My rheumatologist found I was HLA positive and suggested all my close male relatives get tested as well. After 17 years of constant pain I finally had my diagnosis. The meds seem to be helping but I still have my bad days, and have learned to really appreciate the good days. I know the rest of my life will be a constant battle with my own body, but I only have one and we are learning to live together. Thank you for reading!