A.S. Face 1874: Dianne (Aiello) Gardner

Face 1874

I was diagnosed with AS at the age of 44 and at the point of almost complete disability. Until that time I had maintained a job, and lived a normal hectic life of work/kids/housework. I had been having symptoms since I was 13 or so, but despite intermittent complaints to my primary doctor, I was repeatedly told nothing was wrong. After diagnosis I made a brief improvement on my first TNF inhibitor, but it was very short-lived. I relapsed into an even worse condition at that point. I had worked through pain (often severe)for a very long time, so it never occurred to me that the pain would get so bad that I would not be able to work. I loved my job and was at the high point of my career. I would never be foolish or wimpy enough to succumb to my symptoms and lose all my financial stability. Boy, was I wrong.
AS took from me a career that I truly loved, was successful at and which allowed me to support my family with a certain degree of comfort.
I now live day by day, often minute by minute. I have many things to be grateful for, including my 2 children and a large extended family. Remaining positive and keeping a stable roof over our heads is my main goal. I try not to think too far into the future and try really hard to find small ways to help others. I continue to struggle with indescribable pain in almost all joints/muscles of my body. My limitations create a terrible lack of self worth, which leads to depression. So I continue to fight both the physical and emotional battles of this disease. The things that get me by are my kids, my partner, my pets, support groups, good friends, good family and of course my faith. If I could ask one thing of the healthy community, it would be not to judge another’s pain or circumstances. People live with things they can’t comprehend themselves; don’t force them to try to make you understand just to gain your compassion.
Love, peace and understanding to all.

Massachusetts, United States of America

9 Responses to “A.S. Face 1874: Dianne (Aiello) Gardner”

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

    • Forever grateful to you Cookie, for giving us this platform of love and acceptance. Thank you for keeping awareness of AS as a prime goal, not to forward yourself but for the good of all of us.

      • Thank you so much for your kind words, they hit me deeply in a place I needed today…. Much love and respect to you for having the courage to share yourself.

  2. AMEN!

  3. Stay strong ❤ and thank you for your message.

  4. I realized after rereading this that I only speak of what AS took from me professionally. The changes and losses that have happened in my personal life are still too painful and private to share at this level.
    Peace ❤

  5. Dear Dianne-I’m so sorry you haven’t found any relief from your AS pain. I am Face #904. My journey was a long one too. I have had those times of pain so incredibly bad that I couldn’t function. Humira was great for about 3 years -then just stopped. Enbrel and Cimzia didn’t touch me. Now I’m on to Remicaide infusions. Still not as good as the Humira was but I can function. Flares send me for a loop and thank Goodness for FM:A. I work for the State Health Department. I’ve always had a strong work ethic and enjoyed my work but not sure how much longer my body can hold on. I am constantly dealing with infections post infusion. Without the infusions though, I would be completely disabled……for sure. Your support network sound amazing. My kids are great and the grandbabies a blessing. The hubby just doesn’t get it-which really bums me out. So we stay strong, pray hard and live life as best we can! Wishing you some relief in 2018! Happy New Year!

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