Hello, my name is Megan Hicks. I am 26 years old living in Chattanooga, TN (but from Wisconsin/Michigan) and have AS. I was diagnosed last year in April after my mother found out that she was diagnosed. Ever since a young age i always had issues with joint pain and back pain never really thought anything of it. My mother just told me its “growing pains”. Things were changing, inflammation in my joints. Didn’t really notice it really effecting my life until one day i couldn’t get out of the bed in the morning. i though to myself it may just be morning stiffness like i normally have. NOPE! it was a bulged discs in my lower spine and pinched nerves (got to the love that sciatic nerve). Lasted for a few months where i could just not walk. Have felt a little better after my brother in law did some chiropractic maneuver. After moving down to Chattanooga tn, i started having more and more issues. I would wake up in the morning just in pain could barely walk or stand up straight. of course my feet i can barely stand on in the morning. Always feeling tired throughout the day and at 24/25 years old i shouldn’t be needing a nap at 2 in the afternoon. After calling and whining to mother almost every day she told me i should go to the doctor since she was just diagnosed with AS. Talking with my doctor they referred me to a rheumy and he told me that its nothing, (all in my head) i think he just did the tests and xrays to humor me. Well who was right THIS LADY and who made me feel like i should be wrong for trying to figure out what is wrong with me….YUP my rheumy. He pretty much told me to stop BSing him and he didnt want to waste his time filling out paper work. So he is now fired. (starting interviews for future candidates… 😉 ) A few months after being diagnosed i was really depressed thinking this is it, i cant do anything else with my life. The depression and anxiety really kicked in didn’t want o get off the couch…also i was in so much pain. One day though i woke up and realized i cant be living my life like it is going to be this horrible thing. So i told my self…… THIS IS MY LIFE NOW!!! i have to live it or be miserable in it. so i am now just living my life like before AS (with a few things different…). On top of the pain and inflammation i have a lot of GI problems. I got diagnosed also with IBS, GERD, and so many other things. Got my gallbladder out. Have to completely change my diet. Right now I am trying to rule out CHROHNS with my gastro but it definitely takes time. I just am glad i have my mother to call every day and whine to and compare notes with. Its kind of funny that this disease actually brought me and my mother closer together, so i can kind of say I’m happy to have AS and that it has put an obstacle in my life that has truly made me realize that i am strong enough as a person and can overcome anything that may come in my way in the future or that has already entered my life. I realized that this is just another step in my life that i have to take even though it may not be one i would have chosen but its the one that was given to me. Every day i STAND TALL knowing that tomorrow i will still be standing even taller and moving forward no matter what. Even though its a pain in my butt!
Tennessee United States of America