Hello, My name is Alaina, I’m 16 years old, and I have Ankylosing Spondylitis. The pain started when I was around the age of 8. It was in my knees and feet and doctors just brushed it off as flat feet and growing pains. I being the little girl that I was, accepted this and moved on, but then at around age 11-12 my feet worsened. I couldn’t walk any long distances without my feet being in extreme pain, so I went to a podiatrist. He tried his best, but could not figure out the problem. I was then referred to a children’s hospital. At the children’s hospital, I saw an orthopedist, he concluded that I had a Vitamin D deficiency. I once again accepted this and moved on, but a few months later, my life was flipped upside down. I was about 13 now and my hip began to hurt. I assumed that I had a sprain and just kept walking and refusing to go back to the doctor, but it got worse than I had ever expected. It became hard for me to get out of chairs, I limped with every step I took, and I couldn’t even tie my own shoes. It’s as if I aged 70 years in 2 weeks. I finally went back to the doctor and he realized that he made a terrible mistake. I had blood work and all kinds of medical imagining, which was physically and mentally exhausting, but I found the cause to all my problems. He told me that I had Ankylosing Spondylitis w/ secondary Chondrolysis. The first thought in my mind was, isn’t that a dinosaur? I was then referred to the Rheumatology department and have had an amazing doctor ever since.
I continue to go to the children’s hospital and I am thankful that I can take enbrel, which has been working for 3 years. I still have some “flares” sometimes, but I’m like any other teenager and I can virtually do anything I put my mind to. No disease can bring me down.
New Jersey, United States of America