A.S. Face 1565: Gloria Boudreau
My Ankylosing Spondylitis Story
When I first started noticing joint pain, I was a pre-teen. My mother took me to a doctor and they said it was growing pains. However the aches and pains only got worse as I aged. I have also been active and worked out for at least an hour on most days. Some days, like when training for a half marathon , I exercised a lot more. I was sore and stiff in the mornings and after periods of stillness. I went to my doctor and was told to cut back on the exercising that I was overdoing it.
In my thirties I noticed my hip range of motion and my flexibility was bad. During yoga classes I could not perform moves that much older clients were doing easily. I went to my doctor again who agreed I had a hip problem and it was probably a genetic birth defect why I could not move like others. I was told everyone is different. I complained about a sore lower back and I was told no more running on pavement and again to slow down and be sure to have rest days. However when I did less exercise I hurt more. So I read about chiropractor who treated hip issues as well back. He performed active release therapy on me for 6 months but could never get more than a 90 degree range on my hip but he told me to continue exercising.
I began having more pain in the side of my hip and a pinch in my groin area. I then tried making a doctor appointment but learned the doctor had retired. I began a search for a new doctor. I finally after a year had a new doctor who sent me for hip x-rays which showed moderate osteoarthritis and to physiotherapy. In my forties I was referred to an orthopedic surgeon who told me I needed a hip replacement. The surgeon had no explanation why my hips were deteriorating so fast and at a young age. The new family physician then referred me to Rheumatologist to figure out why .
The Rheumatologist did measurements on my spine and my range of motion. He looked at the hip x-rays asked a lot of questions about my history of pain and family history of arthritis. He then sent me for a x-ray of SI-Joint and blood work. After reviewing the x-ray of the sijoint he told me he thought I had Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) and that was the very first time I heard the name. He said he wanted to see my SI-Joint better and ordered a CAT scan. He discussed what AS was and told me to look it up. At the next appointment he confirmed the diagnoses and told me I had Ankylosing Spondylitis . So at age 46 I finally knew why I was achy , sore and stiff. He said my SI joint is completely fused and part of my lower back. I am also still waiting the hip replacement and having shoulder joint issues as well. He put me on Cimzia injections which are helping greatly. Cimzia is helping preventing the inflammation which my body attacks and therefore damages. So it helps with both the pain and slowing the disease progression. I hope in sharing my story is that it helps someone get diagnosed early before the damage is done by the disease.
Nova Scotia, Canada