My name is Kim Underwood and I live in Indiana. I am a mom of 3 wonderful children ages 24, 21 and 14!! I am also a RN. It took a long time for me to get the correct diagnosis. It all started when I was 17, and had a bout of bloody diarrhea. I had several GI tests done and was diagnosed with IBS. I was graduating high school and getting ready to go to college. I really didn’t take any medication for it because in 1986, really nothing to do for it. So I tried to control it with diet…not to well I might add. My arthritis symptoms started in my late twenties. I went to a rheumatologist because my knees were hurting and very swollen. He pulled the fluid off and ran a few tests and said I had osteoarthritis! At 28??? That was an ‘old person’ disease. Started taking NSAID’s and had some relief. But it seemed my arthritis was worse when my IBS was flaring…i always thought there was a connection between the two. I tried many different NSAID’s and COX-2 inhibitors but nothing really helped. Then I started having trouble with my back, in my lumbosacral area. They told me it was sacroilitis. Another “old person” disease…or so I thought. It was until about a year or two ago that I was having increased symptoms, headaches, fatigue that was not just your normal everyday kind, achy all over…i finally went to a different rheumatologist. Thought maybe I had lupus. He ran a bunch of testing and HLBA23 was positive. Finally got the correct diagnosis, AS and he tried NSAID’s first and gave me some pain medication and treated me for low vitamin D. After my first follow up, I was still having tremendous pain and he started me on Sulfasalazine. He thought that my IBS had been misdiagnosed and felt that I add ulcerative colitis. This medication treated both…we have been increasing the dose and also added Cymbalta. I am able to function but I work full time as a school nurse and have to take naps after work every day. I have 3 children of my own and am working on trying to be the mother I used to be…i have a granddaughter that is 2 1/2 and the joy of my life. I just hope that their will be other treatments in the future that I will be able to live a more fulfilling life…As for now, I am doing the best that I can and trying to listen to my body and rest when I can!
Indiana, United States of America