My name is Meloni Thompson, I’ve been married for 22 years, have 2 beautiful daughters, am 45 years old, HLA-B27 positive and I have A.S. I don’t really know when I first started having symptoms, but I do know that my 1st “arthritis-type” knee surgery was at 15 years old. I’ve always suffered from head-aches, joint pain and light sensitivity. In 2006 I really started having trouble. I wasn’t “diagnosed” with AS until 2009. I was suffering from severe lower back pain and swollen ankles and fingers. My toes had the sausage look! My ankles were actually so painful that walking was very difficult. I’ve been through several drug combos trying to slow my progression. I’m currently on remicade and methotrexate (among other drugs). For the most part my life is “manageable” for now. I have good days and bad days. Not sure about flares, just sometimes it’s worse than others because to me a flare would mean that sometimes it’s gone…well, that’s not happened at all. I wake daily with pain-just some days worse than others. As for this disease being hereditary, I have a younger brother-HLA-B27 positive- who also has AS and by the age of 24 already had both hips replaced. My youngest daughter started having random joint pain and she’s HLA-B27 positive but currently showing no active AS (thank you, Lord). So, yes, I’m a face of AS and so is my family, but we will not let AS be in charge! I’m continually learning more and more about my body, my AS, and this disease. How I can still be the wife and mom I desire to be and have AS at the same time. Yes, sometimes life with AS can be difficult, but I continually remember “AS has my body, but NOT me”!