Jessica Ruth Walle
My name is Jessica. I was diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis one month after my 30th birthday, four years ago. I awoke one morning with painfully swollen eyes, sensitive to light, that would seize up so tight, I couldn’t open them. I was diagnosed with pink eye and sent home with antibiotic drops. Days later, I was still in agony and went to see an eye dr. He told me that I ideopathatic iritis and sent me home with steroids. When that didn’t help, I was sent to a Retina Specialist, who took one look at my eyes through the slit lamp and proclaimed that I most likely had lupus or ankylosing spondylitis. I was sent to a rheumatologist who diagnosed me through xrays, lab work to check for the hbla 27 gene and elevated SED rate. By the time I was diagnosed with iritis, my eyes had been inflamed for weeks and it caused irreparable damage to my eyes, leaving me with poor vision and thick cataracts. My disease has begun to affect my spine, hips, my ribs, my heart and kidneys and now, I have been also diagnosed with RA and PsA. I take iv Remicade, cytoxan, methotrexate and steroids to keep the disease in check. It has been a long four years, there’s so much to learn about autoimmune diseases and it can get very frustrating being in pain all the time. I have a wonderful husband and family that are my support group. That is the most important thing: Don’t shut out your family. Tell them how you are really feeling and accept the help that’s offered you. AS has taken a lot of my independence away and at times, that can be depressing and hard to live with, but I know that I am blessed to have such a wonderful family.
Louisiana United States of America