Diana Duncan

Diana Duncan
My story

My name is Diana Duncan, and I am a face of Ankylosing Spondylitis.  I was diagnosed with AS at the age of 40, although I was having symptoms for at least 15 years prior. My pain began in my hips when I was about 20 years old, but came and went so I did not think much of it. When I hit my thirties it came back, again I was not overly concerned. Then when I was 39 I had the flu, then pneumonia, and could not get well. Then the pain became non stop. One Dr after another blew me off saying I was fine. I knew better. I took myself to a rheumatologist and he ran so many tests.  I was so shocked at the diagnosis that I sought out 3 more opinions. The last Dr. was at Emory University in Atlanta, and he said yes you have it, and you need to buy disability insurance, you will be in a wheelchair by the time you are 50.  Well, I am 53 now, and still have managed to avoid the wheelchair! I am on disability however, entering into year 3 of it. Most days I am stiff for about 75% of the day. I try to move, to stretch. It is not easy. There are so many pains in so many different places. Every day is different.

Along with AS I have Crohns, torticollis, asthma, and chronic iritis. I wish I could tell you how I deal with these diseases, but it is truly one day at a time.
I take a cockail of medications as do others. Like most, the effectiveness wears off and we try a new one. The costs are unreal, and have nearly taken all of my savings.  This disease of AS, for me, is tied to my emotional well being as well. I was in remission for several years after diagnosis. The humira and then the enbrel seemed to do the trick. Then is 2003 my 17 year old son was killed in a car accident, and in 2005 I was divorced. Those 2 events sent my AS into a spiral. Now my days revolve around meds, pain, more meds and just trying to remain somewhat normal. Of course, normal has changed drastically!
I have had 5 surgeries related to my AS, and multiple procedures due to the crohns and iritis. The torticollis is related to my cervical fusions and requires botox injections every 3 months. Fun times!

I will never give up on myself. For me I try to remind myself that it could always be worse. There is always someone who has it worse. Losing a child taught me how precious life really is. I refuse to give in!

Flowery Branch, Georgia United States of America

3 Responses to “Diana Duncan”

  1. Dear Diana,
    Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. I have no words to share with you, only admiration and respect. I wish I could say something that would help you with the pain that you carry, but I haven’t walked in your shoes. I agree, we should never give in and life is precious. Live life to the best of your ability and appreciate every second you are blessed with it.
    Sincerely Cookie

  2. So sorry about your son.

  3. So sorry about your son.

    stephanie downer-mellini said this on November 9, 2011 at 3:29 am

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