My name is Cynthia Lowitz. I am 29 years old and I have ankylosing spondylitis. I was diagnosed 3/2015. I started having problems when I was in the 7th or 8th grade. I had been diagnosed with scoliosis when I was younger, so when I started complaining of back pain I was always told that the scoliosis and the fact that I was endowed up top was the problem. Thankfully the pain wasn’t constant but when it was there it was bad, and it would also flair up when my menses would come. Fast forward a few years to the first time I was hospitalized, I think I was about 19. It was the first day of my cycle and I was at my friends house babysitting my god daughter when the pain in my back became so intense that i started to vomit. I was in tears trying to stand in a steaming hot shower to relieve my pain and call my mother because I knew something was seriously wrong. I was barley able to speak but I was able to get my mom to leave work to come and get me. When she arrived I was in the shower unable to get dressed and my god daughter let her in. She dressed me and off we went to the er, still vomiting and unable to stand. Hours pass with multiple shots of pain meds and IV fluid and I’m released with pain meds and a diagnosis of food poisoning. Needless to say this went on for years to come, multiple trips, each time there was nothing found, they would say I have endometriosis due to my family history, tell me I should have a child, and send me home with a small script and no answers. At this point it’s not just my back that hurts, my shoulders and neck have decided to join my back in making my life miserable, and now instead of having the energy a woman of my age should have, all I want to do is sleep. I went to doctor after doctor and each time held the same results, they didn’t see anything that would cause any of my symptoms. Now Fast forward a few more years and now the pain is becoming unbearable, back, shoulders, neck, hips, feet, knees, hands, I mean my entire body was giving out on me. So finally I had an appointment with my primary and I told him that I didn’t know how much longer my body could keep going. He gave me a referal and told me to make an appointment with pain management. I explain everything i have been going through to him, and he orders x-rays, M.R.I’s, e.m.g”s and blood work, and sends me home with muscle relaxors, and anti-inflammatory meds, none of which even touched my daily pain as at this point, my pain is at a 7-8 regularly. So you can imagine that none of that worked. I get a few of the tests done and so far all he saw was a little bit of arthritis in my back, shoulders and neck. Even my emg’s didn’t show anything so he decided to refer me to a rheumatologist. My first appointment with this dr. Went very well, right off the bat he saw something in the x-rays and continued to elaborate on them. Ordered blood work and a x-ray of my hips. I started to feel like we were finally going to figure out what’s wrong with me, I was elated at the thought. I had to wait two weeks untill the rest results would be in, and I had an appointment with pain management in between time. So the results from the emg were negative, and the dr. Proceeded to tell me that he does not know what is wrong with me, he has run all the tests he can think of, and knowing that the pain meds he prescribed weren’t working he wanted to tell me of another method to relieving pain. This man has the nerve to tell me that he wants to sign me up for a psychology group, it helps relieve the pain you are feeling. I looked at him very confused for a minute but then I caught on, just like everyone else, now he thinks I’m making it up in my mind. I said to him I wasn’t interested and proceeded to walk out. I was in tears as I got in my car to pull off. I didn’t know to do. So I got home and just layed down with my dogs. I knew my only answers were going to come from the rheumatologist, I told everyone and anyone who would listen to me about what happened to me in pain management, including my rehumy, who was disgusted in the way I had been treated all this time. So here it is, the day my results are in and I told him what had happend, he proceeded to tell me that he can prove them wrong. He said “cynthia, you have a.s” he continued to explain everything to my mother and I. Finally I knew what was causing me all this pain over the last few years. It is a battle with finding the right meds, being able to get up and go isn’t an option any more. I recently had to quit my job due to the fact that I physically couldn’t do it anymore. I just want people to know that we may seem just like everyone else, but were not. I don’t go out and do even a quarter of the things someone my age does. It’s not that I don’t want to, but usually I cant.
New York, United States of America