My name is Ann S. I lived with AS for over 40 years before I got a true diagnosis. Doctors kept brushing me off the first few years. My husband kept telling me I was bending over too much or lifting the wrong way when I’d go to bed in tears because my back hurt. My symptoms would come and go for several years but in my early 20′s my pain got so bad I couldn’t ignore it anymore.My doctor sent me to physical therapy and kept saying to exercise. Then my neck kept hurting, and my shoulders. It was over a period of years that I slowly fell apart. I’ve had a frozen shoulder, then a total shoulder replacement, 5 trigger finger surgeries, ankle and knee scopes, and rotator cup repair on my “good” shoulder. One night pain got so bad I cried all night. The pain literally went from one hip to my hip on opposite side then to my knees. It seemed the pain was traveling all through my body. I’ve always been an independent woman but that was slowly being taken away from me and I didn’t know why! I finally changed primary care physicians and I told the new doctor all that had been going on with my body and the awful pain . I ended up in tears while telling my story. He looked at me and said” I think it’s time you went to see a rheumatologist. ” After an exam and lots of blood work it was determined that I had Ankylosing Spondylitis. It was explained that my HLAB27 positive test results and my symptoms were conclusive. I had never heard of AS and was terrified. Once I found the forums on the Spondylitis Association of America website I began to feel calmer and learned about AS. I feel better now than I did 20 years ago!
I participated in the TASK research being done in Houston, Texas by sending in blood samples.
I still have bad days, but with a good rheumatologist and an excellent pain management doctor, I can still enjoy spending time with my Grandbabies!
Michigan, United States of America