Denise Santana

My name is Denise Santana and I live in Rosenberg, Texas.  I am 38 years old and was diagnosed with AS just this past summer.  I have been very fortunate to have caught the disease in its early stages. I am HLA-B27+ and my first symptoms were about 15 years ago with pain in my knees and hips.  I always thought I had very bad menstrual cramps that radiated from my hips down into my knees and ankles.  Now that I have been diagnosed, I realized all my aches and pains in the past can be attributed to AS.  I had what I know now as three really bad flares.  Once in 2004, when I was under alot of stress, I went to the doctor with pain in my back and legs.  I got a referral to a Rhuematologist who said I had some sort of virus.  Then, in 2009, I had a second flare that caused horrible pain to the back of my head and neck.  I had jaw pain and blurred vision.  The doctor again said I had some sort of virus and sent me home with pain killers.  It was the worse pain ever and I ended up going to the ER the following week.  They gave me anti-inflammatories and sent me home.  No diagnosis.    Finally, after an in-office procedure with the gynocologist, I had a bout with the bacteria C-Diff, and it threw me into another flare.  Pain in my back, hips, legs, feet, hands, shoulders was unexplained and unaccounted for.  In a time period of about 5 months, I went to the doctor, found I was HLA-B27+, referred to a Rheumatologist, X-rayed, MRI’ed, and diagnosed with AS.  I started taking Humira and Mobic in August 2011.  Just recently I have also been diagnosed with auto-immune hypothyroidism so I am now on Synthroid, too.

There is so much to this disease that I have learned from reading about others online on sites like this, so much more than what my doctors have told me. Some days I feel like I have been hit by a truck or that I won’t make the day.  Some days I feel so drained and sleepy.  I fear that my health will just spiral down quickly now.  But I pray to God that he will lead me in making the right decisions to manage this disease so that I can be the best Mom, Wife, Daughter, Sister, Aunt, Teacher and Friend that I can.  These sites have been such great help in educating me about my invisible friend and have played the role to support me in being the best I can be.


Denise Santana

Rosenberg, Texas United States of America

One Response to “Denise Santana”

  1. Dear Denise,
    Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. I am glad you have finally been diagnosed. My best advice to you is to educate your self, ask questions demand answers, and give the medicines a chance to work. Try to do exercice or at least stretches to keep you flexiable.
    Best to you.
    Sincerely Cookie

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