We thought we were cool like everyone else in the 80’s and had to have a water bed. By the time 1990 rolled around, i hated the bed, blaming it for sleepless nights and major back aches every morning. I would find comfort by flipping my legs over the side of the padded rails and lean up against the headboard for sleep relief. the pain didn’t last all day, so i didn’t put a lot of thought into why i hurt so bad. After we bought our first house, the water bed was changed out for a mattress bed, but the restless nights continued. I dealt with it. Life was busy, we were expecting our daughter in December 1990 The years went by, i felt pain everyday, but it always went away. Progressively, i would experience the worst pain in my heels i ever felt. Hard to describe, but almost felt as if spikes were being pounded into my heels. i would put my foot sideways on the floor and just punch on it as hard as i could to try to make the pain subside. This provided little relief. Heel pain went to all day pain and my hips felt like metal rubbing on bones, it hurt so much. walking was painful and i had resorted back to sleeping sideways on a chair, when i could sleep, just for some temporary relief. I would go to chiropractor, doctor after doctor, referrals to ortho doc’s and back again. I had so many x-rays, it is a wonder i am not glowing. The last straw was in mid 90’s when i was washing dishes and i was feeling pain so bad through my back, it was hurting my chest. i went to our family doctor, who drew blood for some tests and told me i had AS. I was sent to a Rhuemy who put me through vigorous physical therapy sessions to get me moving again. I went from taking Vioxx to Celebrex to a bunch of other pills including methotrexate and it’s sidekick Folic acid. At one point, i was taking 11 pills in one day. I did not like where this was going. Then my Rhuemy was replaced by another, who actually knew what i was dealing with and she took me off of everything and replaced it with Enbrel. I felt better after a while and was able to resume most of my normal activities. I have been on Enbrel for over 5yrs now, and even though i experience flare ups and pain everyday, i am able to do more. I am doing my best to stay active, my wife and i have a tandem bike and try to ride as much as possible. I also enjoy walking, which is easier than bike riding. I am back to mowing the lawn, and i even painted the living room last month. Depression hits me frequently, but i deal with it on my own and keep on going. I do my best not to complain, because we all know, outside of this circle, hardly nobody knows what AS is. and frankly, i would rather not try to explain. This group of friends i have made on this page make it easier for me to see other people’s struggles and what i can do to be a productive person. Thank You Cookie, and to all the friends i have made along the way. No one will understand like we all do. I am very thankful and blessed for all i have.
Joe Guzdial Michigan, United States of America