A.S. Face 2040: Steve Martin

Let me begin by saying, finding the AS support group and Special people like Cookie-Cheryl Hopper, has been the one of the good things about having Ankylosing Spondylitis.

I signed up for the Navy, in the Delayed Entry Program, at the age of 16, one month after my 16th Birthday, I had a Calling to go in the Navy, and at the age of 46, as I look back, God had the plan all worked out for me and the Navy was gonna play a big role in this disease, and my life with this disease.
I fell aboard my ship, and landed between 2 I-Beams at the inside hull of my ship, at the age of 19. This lead to pain in my back, thoracic area, and then came many various other symptoms, left shoulder pain, inability to lay flat on my back, fatigue, back pain, lumbar, thoracic and cervical and the worst one, THE ABILITY TO SLEEP, which still haunts me to this day. Fast forward to present day, God has shown me, that he is in charge and I can do all things through him. I have defended myself against the Veterans Administration System, medical side of the VA and the Benefit side of the VA, and represented 3 other people in front of Social Security Judges. AS has shown me, I am smarter than I actually imagined and that when it comes to defending myself, I can do it, with help from up above.

Winning my disability was great on the financial aspect and metal aspect but finding a good physician, to this day has been my biggest challenge. I digress, it took years to actually get diagnosed, because I was fighting the Veteran Affairs to provide the diagnosis, and trust me, Veterans have a hard time finding good physicians in most cases. I climbed the chain of command and made it to the Network Directors Office, and ended up having a meeting with about 12, very high ranking administrators in the VA system, which was my 1st big accomplishment in my fight with AS. this was in 2008, and that is when I finally got my diagnosis, and got my 100% disability. I finally got my life in order, as best I could, but like most of us learn, when dealing with AS, it can be a roller coaster ride, ups and downs. I had my disability approved, I had money to live off of, I had stability, but I still had AS, and the mental abuse this disease does to us, can not be explained to anyone who does not have the disease.

I had the pain medicine battle, I was on 120 loratab 10mgs a month, for years, the only thing the VA does do, is feed you pain pills like they are M&M’s. I had those pills for years, I finally decided to make major changes in my life to try to get my mental fight and physical dependency on pain pills under control, so I moved to Myrtle Beach, SC…. Yeah

After being here for a few months, I began my search for a good physician, yet, I got forced into a pain clinic. yes, OPIANT DRUG DEALERS, and I had few options, thinking I had to have pain medicine, I went down that path, and after 6 months on Oxycontin, I found myself telling my family I was gonna skip Thanksgiving the 1st year I was in Myrtle Beach, little did they know, I was gonna go down a rabbit hole and praying I could get out, I detoxed myself off of pain pills, and the opiant withdrawals were the worst thing I had ever been through. 7 days locked in my condo, 5 of which felt like HELL ON EARTH, but I survived and since 2012, I have been off of all pain medications, and it sucks at times, but I would not change it for anything, pain sucks, but I got too much to deal with, and I can not afford to be a drug addict, which opiants can do to anyone in a short period of time.

so after 2 back surgeries from the fall in the Navy, ankle surgery, tendons torn in half, from AS, and skin cancer ordeal, I am now in good shape other than anxiety, and AS, but I can cope with these 2 for now, I bought my first house, thank God, and I am trying to have as much of a life as AS will let me have. I hear so many stories about other AS warriors that have support from family or spouse and I am so glad to hear that, me on the other hand, I had the comments made behind my back, He just does not want to work, Lazy ass, and I had one or two people who had no issue making comments like that to my face, I overlooked it as much as I can, but having your family and friends turn on you, when you really need them the most, well, it is something I would not wish on my worst enemy, but I made it, and in case you are wondering how I did it, I say God is Good..!! I had to live with my mom for 3 and a half years, and she is one of the disability cases I had to handle in front of a judge for her Social Security disabililty, we won her case, we almost killed each other during that time, me, her, her cat and my cocker spaniel, living off of 500.00 a month, so she knows my true fight and supports me to this day, and I do the same, she is going for her 2nd shoulder replacement, and has been diagnosised with fibromyalgia, but I swear she has AS too, but she does her best to endure and move forward in life the best she can.

I guess I have wasted enough of your time on my story, but I want to say, AS has taken so much from me, my spine, flexability, peace of mind, but I refuse to let it take certain things from me, I am a Warrior, I am a good person, I have many abilities with few disabilities, I am here, I am gonna stand as tall as I can and do everything I can to enjoy this life, as much as I possibly can.

Please, don’t give up on the fight, never forget God loves you and always remember, you got Warriors on your side, all you have to do, is reach your hand out, and one of us will hold it, as long as you need us to, together, we can do anything and everything we want to.

Stay Strong
Steven Martin
Beach Bum for life..!!

South Carolina, United States of America

 


One Response to “A.S. Face 2040: Steve Martin”

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

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