A.S. Face 1664: Lisa
My name is Lisa and I live in Ohio. I was diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis about 3 years ago at the age of 43. I was born with both hips dislocated. (Not sure if that is AS related or not). I always had leg pain growing up and complained frequently. I was told it was growing pains and also that I was so dramatic. My feet also hurt terribly if I had a long day with lots of walking. When I was a teenager my Dad was diagnosed with Chrons Disease. I now know that AS is connected to this through a gene. I continued to suffer and just was made to feel like I was overly dramatic. When I started my period at age 10 I suffered terrible cramps, throwing up and even fainting every single month. (I’m not sure if this is AS related or not, but have seen other women write about it in their stories). It was so bad I would miss school every month. I managed to go to college and somehow graduate. The big campus of Kent State is full of hills and long walks. I skipped class far too often because I was in so much pain. At that point I had no idea that I had this disease and just felt like I was being lazy or a bad college student.
When I had my first child at the age of 26, I had to have an emergency c-section and even be put to sleep. My second delivery 4 years later was a little less trouble, but they had to use a vacuum to help get my son out. I have a tipped uterus which has caused a lot of problems with female stuff.
Fast forward 12 years to my youngest son Matt. He was always complaining of leg pain and foot pain. At times he could hardly walk. I took him to a sports medicine doctor who referred him to a rheumatologist. He was diagnosed with Juvenile Spondyloarthritis. At this point, I scheduled myself an appointment with a rheumatologist and was diagnosed finally with AS. It was almost a relief to know that I wasn’t crazy, but I had a disease! I was started on an anti-inflammatory which did not help. Within a few months I was put on Enbrel. (Just like my son). It helped me so much! I could walk without pain finally. My son also is doing great now. Since all of this, my daughter has now been diagnosed with Psoriatic Arthritis. I have made sure she also is getting proper treatment and make sure her aches and pains are taken seriously. We are still working on getting her pain under control, but I know that we will. My advice for everyone is to follow their instincts and push for help for yourself or your children. There are Medicines out there that will help to make your quality of life better. And remember if you are having a bad day, there will also be good days as well. Thanks for listening to my story. I hope it helps at least one person.
Ohio, United States of America