A.S. Face 1982: Mac Reynolds

Mac Reynolds interview with Dan Reynolds

for This AS Life Live!


I’m a husband and dad to 4 kids; I work in the music business managing artists including Imagine Dragons, and practicing law whenever I can’t avoid it.  We live in the greatest city on planet Earth: beautiful Las Vegas,

 My AS story began when I was a 19 year old missionary in England, pounding the pavement all day every day.  I started getting right heel and foot pain that eventually led to some serious lower back and sacroiliac joint pain.  Some days, I could barely hobble when I walked.  EVERY day, sleeping was a nightmare.  I would spend 15 minutes trying to roll to my other side, grabbing the sides of my bed and ending up drenched in sweat by the time I got there.  I’d wake up exhausted and spend the day trying to figure out how to make things better.  Do I sit more?  Stand more?  Walk more?  Do I need to massage it?  Nothing seemed to work, and the ups and downs of my pain seemed completely random.
One night the pain got so bad I ended up in the emergency room, where the doctor was sure I had some sort of sexually transmitted disease.  I tried to explain to him that Mormon missionaries aren’t exactly prime candidates for STDs, but you know how it goes diagnosing this stuff.  Eventually an MRI showed some bulged discs, which was how they treated it for the next six months.  But steroids, NSAIDs, muscle relaxants, and even a shot in my back made little to no difference.  I went back to the states six months later, a total wreck physically.  I remember thinking I would never run again – and by run, I mean even from one side of a room to another.  I would literally daydream about sprinting down the street and trying to remember what that feeling was like.  As a pretty active kid growing up, I was heartbroken to think those days were over.  Exercise was a pretty big part of my life.
Even in the states it was a long journey towards diagnosis.  I did physical therapy for a few months with a renowned therapist in my area – only to have him bring my parents in afterwards and tell us all that, in essence, my pain was imagined (because he was unable to create real lasting improvement).  For those who have experienced chronic pain, you know how infuriating that experience was for me.  Fast forward a year or two, and I was finally referred to a rheumatologist.  A few tests and an exam, and he knew right away I had Ankylosing Spondylitis.  This was the beginning of a solution to me, and a relief in some ways despite how scary it seemed.  After trying a ton of meds for a year or two and developing toxin induced hepatitis from NSAIDs in the process (rare, I assume), I was moved over to a biologic.  It was insane to me how immediately my body responded to the drug.  It was almost like a switch flipped, and suddenly my immune system was no longer fighting itself.  I’m one of the fortunate ones that saw extremely fast and (so far) continuous relief from the right medication.
I’ve got a few small things I deal with these days, but I’m about as active as I’ve ever been.  I go for distance runs, I go to the gym, I do yoga, and I am almost completely off medicine (I tend to give myself a shot every 3 months or so).  I am grateful for every single day I get that is mostly pain free and active.  I know others aren’t as lucky, and hopefully there’s hope to be had for people in those shoes.  I’m glad to share my story with the community, and hope others find health and happiness in their own journey.
Nevada, United States of America


14 Responses to “A.S. Face 1982: Mac Reynolds”

  1. Dear Mac,
    Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. There are no words to express my appreciation and gratitude. It has been amazing having you in my life.
    Sincerely Cookie

  2. Thanks Mac for sharing your story. I’m so so glad you you respond well to biologics.
    Debra x

  3. Welcome❤

  4. Thank you for sharing your story with us Mac,it gives me hope that one day i will find a solution to control this disease.
    God Bless

  5. Wow…how similar so many of our stories are from the night pains, to figuring out how to deal with it, to going to doctors over and over until the one is found, and like you the miracle of the biologic. CONGRATULATIONS on your success in this personal battle.

  6. Welcome,,,

    You are very blessed the bio works so well. Some are not so lucky. But research is always closer than we think.

    Awareness is so important,,,,thank you for joining faces I know Cookie has dedicated years to this website.

    I know we will see your blue bracelets worn proudly

    Wife of 868

  7. Thank you for sharing your story, with us Dan. Welcome to the AS Warrior group!!

  8. Thanks Dan for sharing your story. We are all part of the A.S. Family and each voice is counted.

  9. Thank you for sharing with us Mac. Welcome to the family. I’m so glad you found what works for you. That gives hope to us that have not yet.

  10. Thanks for sharing your story, Would you mind if I asked which biological you are taking that works well? Have you tried others that did not work for you?

    • sorry for the delay – just saw this! I tried all kinds of drugs to no avail for years. Enbrel was the magic sauce for me. I eventually switched to Humira because of some other autoimmune issues that arose, which works just as good for me (better given the other issues it addressed as well). I do a shot every 3 months or so rather than every two weeks.

  11. Welcome to the best “my body hates me” disease group out there!!! Stand tall and keep moving forward!

  12. Mac, thank you for being vocal and educating on AS. I had endured pain since my mid 30’s and just got diagnosed 2 years ago and now 50 yrs old. I also have RA and Fibro but the AS is by far the most painful of all the 3. I did take Humira and it was killing my liver then off do do the colonoscopy then was told that Humira was killing my liver. I’m now on Enbril and my pain is crazy. I found out on Monday that I will need a spinal decompression in L5 and a L4/L5 fusion. Not happy about that but I have 15 yr old twins that keep me super busy. I did not know you managed Imagine Dragons. That is my daughter’s and now me favorite band. We have traveled to DC 2 times and saw them in Norfolk, VA one time. We will see them this July 3 in Virginia Beach, VA. I purchased the meet/greet package. My daughter does not know as it’s a surprise. She is gonna be paralyzed as soon as she lays eyes on The Dragons. I’m so glad that you are pain free. I only hope to get there. True story, today, while listening/looking at VEVO and watching “Whatever It Takes” with my Daughter I decided to replicate some of Dan’s moves but sad to say that I was crippled instantly while thinking I can do the moves and it took me to my knees – pain in my lower back and my daughter almost called the ambulance. So no more spontaneous dancing for me. I just hope to have full use of my legs this 3 July. Keep sharing and I hope AS does not progress to quick as you have so many kids around you…I love love love family and would be dead if I didn’t get to experience the love of children. Thanks.

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