My name is Alyssa Savitski and I was diagnosed with Anklyosing Spondylitis at age 26. The first thing I noticed was lower back pain on the right side. I just thought I slept wrong, so when the pain didn’t go away, I went to see a chiropractor. He didn’t know exactly what was wrong, but he worked on it anyway. Then the pain started going down my leg to the point where I could not walk without support from my husband. I went to see my primary care physician, who sent me for an X-ray, but nothing came up. I told her how much pain I was in, but it felt like she thought I was a hypochondriac. I felt crazy whenever I would see her. She put me on all sorts of medications, but none worked. After seeing the chiropractor for 6 months, he finally told me that he couldn’t do anything for me. I had nowhere else to go. I had so many tests that all came back normal, so my doctor gave up on me.
The worst part of the whole thing was the fact that my husband could not even hug me because the pain was so bad. Last year, I decided to change doctors and immediately, my doctor sat back and actually listened to what I was telling her. She sent me for some more tests and still nothing. Then a month after my wedding, a breakthrough of sorts. I had been having eye problems and it had gotten to the point that I could not even open my eye. I went to the opthamologist and after the exam, he told me that I had uveitis. He then asked if I was healthy. I chuckled and explained everything that had been happening to me. He told me that based on what I told him, he thought I should get some blood work to test for lupus, Lyme disease, and ankylosing spondylitis. This was the first time anyone had suggested blood work to me. When I went back to the eye doctor, he told me that I tested positive for the HLA-B27 gene and gave me a referral for a rheumatologist. I seriously owe my opthamologist my life!
A few days later, my rheumatologist told me that I have ankylosing spondylitis, with the other diseases associated with it (uveitis, Achilles tendinitis, and bursitis in my hip). I am now taking Enbrel every week and have seen a great improvement in my health. I still have my good days and bad days, but slowly my good days are becoming the norm. The best part of everything is that now my husband can hug me!
For anyone trying to figure out what is wrong, don’t give up! Be persistent and don’t let anyone tell you that they know your health better than you. Stay strong!
Pennsylvania United States of America