I have been dealing with AS since I was about 12 years old. In the beginning it was not that bad and I was still able to live a normal life. Throughout my teens and early 20’s my symptoms were pretty mild compared to what was to come. When I was 23 I stupidly crashed my car into a telephone pole out in the country while drunk. I deservedly lost my license for a year and 90 days. I’m not sure how, but this incident seemed to trigger the rapid worsening of my AS, although there were no signs of injury from the crash. It started with not being able to fully straighten up after standing from a sitting position. At the worst I could literally not even walk or move my leg because of the pain in my hip. I could barely turn my head side to side and I had to learn how to suppress a sneeze because if I didn’t the pain was just too much. This became my daily life. To top this all off I had to get to work each day by foot. My job required me to stand all day so my life was pretty much pure pain. Did I mention I had opted out of my health insurance plan back when I needed to take was Naproxen (ibuprofen) to get by? The only thing that kept me going was getting back on that health plan so I could see a doctor and get some real help. At this point I was taking 16 250mg Ibuprofen every day. As I am writing this the memories are coming back of all the simple things that brought so much pain. Just putting on my socks was almost impossible to do. Finally I got back on the health insurance, and after jumping through way too many hoops the insurance company approved the Enbrel. I can not give enough thanks to my Rhumetologist for what she did. Things changed from the first day I stuck that Enbrel clicker into my leg. It still amazes me how fast it worked. Eventually I had to switch to remicade because of some iritis I was having on the Enbrel, and for me it works just as good if not better. Now I feel like I have my life back. Since I’ve been on the Remicade, I am able to do the things I said I would do if it wasn’t for the AS. I am proud of how far I’ve come, from having no car and a crappy job with no health insurance, to having 3 cars (I know I have a problem), and a job that I love with great insurance. I still have some iritis on occasion, and it’s kind of hard to get down and tie my shoes, but other then that I can work hard and live a normal life. I have so much respect for anybody going through the pain of AS. I just want people, especially young people to know that there is hope and that you have to fight and do everything that you can to get yourself the proper treatment. I just hope somebody reads this and it helps in some way.
Thank you. -Adam
Washington United States of America