Hi my name is Julie and I am a 48 year old mother of 3. I have 2 daughters, 21 and 23, in college and a 13 year old son that is a ball of energy. My husband is the most caring and understanding man on earth. I have AS. I found out about 3 months ago but have been suffering from the symptoms since I was very young. I have lived with so much pain for the past 10+ years. No one could tell me what was wrong. I have always known the pain I feel was linked one way or another. I have been diagnosed with degenerative disk disease, bulging disk at L and C level disk, Cervical Neuralgia, SI joint dysfunction, Occipital Neuralgia, acute/chronic migraines, muscle spasms, Trigeminal Neuralgia, depression, anxiety, fibro neuralgia, and the list goes on. Every doctor I saw seemed to treat me for one of these conditions but would never look at the big picture. Nothing provided me with pain relief except for maybe a massage and that was very temporary. I have been unable to work now for approximately 3 years. Most doctors treated me like I was just looking for pain medication which I was not. I wanted to know what was wrong and I wanted it fixed. Finally about 2 years ago I went to a doctor who believed I was having all of these problems. He was persistent in trying to find out what was going on. After several test and several specialist, he finally sent me to a nationally ranked Rheumatologist and he diagnosed me on the first visit even before the blood results were in. It was scary at first to find out what I had but I was finally happy to know I wasn’t just crazy and that what I have is real. I know that doesn’t make a lot of sense; knowing something was wrong but not knowing what was so frustrating. I was put on 3 different types of medication and after just the first month I was spending less days in bed unable to function and now I actually have hope that I may still have a chance at enjoying life, to some degree, again. I have always been very active and the past 3 years of not being able to do even the simplest of task has been very depressing. I still have bad days and I still have pain daily but it is much better than it was 3 months ago. I am sorry for anyone else out there that is suffering from AS but I am glad I am not alone.
Tennessee United States of America