A.S. Face 1652: Heidi Wittmayer

Face 1652

My name is Heidi. I am 33 and I got my diagnosis of AS about a year and a half ago. I have been having symptoms of back pain and “sciatica” for about 11 years before I was diagnosed. In 2007 I got a severe attack of iritis and every eye doctor that I saw (about 4) didn’t know what was going on. Finally 1 doctor came across my file and knew exactly what was going on and ordered the HLA-B27 test and did xrays….and was able to get my iritis calmed down before I went blind. He got me set up with a rheumatologist. Well, this rheumatologist didn’t want to take up much of his time with me because I wasn’t showing any signs radiographically. He walked into the exam room and told me I probably had bursitis and then he walked out of the room. $300 well spent, NOT!
Fast forward to 2014. I still had back pain and stiffness throughout the years, but it got considerably worse after the birth of my 2nd son. Went to a doctor who basically didn’t want to treat me because he didn’t know what was wrong. Best thing he did though was refer me to a rheumatologist. Despite my apprehensions about seeing another rheumatologist, I went to my appointment and the moment I mentioned being HLA-B27 positive he became interested. I had the HLA-B27 test redone, blood work, xrays, and MRI. I was ultimately diagnosed with Joint Hypermobility Syndrome (EDS-II, but not confirmed by genetics) and Ankylosing Spondylitis. The damage is now seen on xray. I am not fused yet, and hope to never to get to that point. I try to stay positive about the future and do the best I can to live a normal life.
North Dakota United States of America

3 Responses to “A.S. Face 1652: Heidi Wittmayer”

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

  2. Good luck Heidi. Any time you get those iritis/uveitis episodes…get to the doc as soon as you can. There can be permanent damage to vision if the doctor is not very knowledgeable or doesn’t take swift action (learned this the hard way when I was living in Virginia and had crappy health insurance)

    • Definitely! The opthamologist who figured it all out told me to get treatment ASAP if/when it happens again.

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