Michele Snyder

Face 1856

I was diagnosed in May or June 2017.

Most of my life I’ve endured widespread chronic pain.  It started gaining momentum once I hit 25 years old.  But I remember growing up as a kid with severe allergies, sprained ankles and wrists regularly, red (not pink) eyes, leg pain so fierce and deep at night silently crying myself to sleep.  Back then my tiredness was referred to was “laziness” and my soreness was “growing pains” and my slightly awkward gait where I couldn’t pick up my feet like normal kids causing me to fall a lot was attributed to  “clumsiness”.  I remember being told constantly “pick up your feet when you walk”. When I started dating my husband he told me that he loved the way I walked, it was like I was gliding. That gave me confidence because little did people close to me know, I was always insecure because of my “clumsiness, laziness, growing-pains and imagination”.  As the years went on, the intensity grew. I was always being told by not only my elders but also my peers to stand or sit up straight and keep my shoulders back, pick my head up, etc.  Externally I built an emotional wall in an attempt to stop letting the chastising voices of others pierce me, but inside I always questioned myself wondering if it was all just in my head.  All along, feeling more bitter and confused. It seemed no on believed me or cared.

In the past two years, gradually people started noticing my impaired mobility. Often times I use a cane to walk or hold me up. I don’t glide anymore, rather its more like I do the dance “Walk Like An Egyptian” dance. Right now although my body begs me to get a Jazzy or wheelchair, my soul says not yet sister, keeping pushing through the pain!

In The Spring of 2017 the blood test results came back HLA-B27 POSITIVE. What?!?!!! Aha, we have Validation…. and shock! Not my imagination, huh.  We have an answer!  Although a positive result alone is not a definitive, nor is a negative necessarily definitive, it greatly helps the doctors diagnose the disease.

Finally, after so many years one simple blood test explained all the symptoms and why none of the treatments worked. Although I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, amongst several other conditions, my instincts told me there’s still something very real and very serious happening within my body that is being missed. Thankfully, a stranger in a sacroiliac joint dysfunction support group suggested that I get the specific blood test hula b27 for  Ankylosing Spondylitis because of all of my symptoms and extensive treatments that didn’t provide any relief. I have a friend who has AS and I felt awful for her, never realizing that the beast taking over my body was also AS although we had so many similarities.

There’s much more to my story and my life, but the important thing is that I now understand the Why and have validation, and hopefully I can help others prevent from going through what I had to. I thought AS was rare.  It’s not rare at all.  Please help us spread awareness. Thank you!

Michele Snyder
Springbrook Twp PA

One Response to “Michele Snyder”

  1. Dear Michele,
    Thank you so much for sharing your story with us.
    Sincerely Cookie

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