My name is Michelle Daly and I was diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis in my mid 30’s, I am now 42. At the age of 2 1/2 I experienced a prolapsed rectum and after surgery to correct this it was found that my body was not healing itself. My mom made many trips to the emergency room with me and unexplained fevers in the following months after surgery. It was finally discovered that I had Crohns Disease at such a young age. As a result I had parts of my intestines removed that resulted in a colostomy. I have had this colostomy for close to 40 years now and endured around 37 surgeries in my lifetime thus far. I started having low back pain that began in my early 20’s, a few years after giving birth to my first child that wasn’t really serious enough to look into at the time. I began to experience even more low back pain in my late 20’s after the birth of my second child and just attributed it to the pregnancy and weight gain. At that same time I experienced my first bout with iritis in both eyes that resulted in doing steroid drops and oral steroids at the same time! That first episode was by far my worst and almost resulted in loss of vision in one eye. I began to experience iritis frequently for the next 6 years or so and doctors’ told me it was tied into the Crohns. I again began experiencing low back pain so bad in my early 30’s (after the birth of my 3rd child) that at times I could barely walk! I started with pain management doctors at that time (no AS diagnosis yet) that started me on Darvocet, which in the “very beginning” did help but my body eventually became immune to it and it lost it’s power to control my pain but was definitely better than nothing. I was then referred to a rheumatologist and after x-rays and MRI’s the diagnosis of Ankylosing Spondylitis came in! That was around 2005/2006. Not long after that diagnosis Darvocet was pulled off the market and because I was extremely hesitant in following the doctor’s advice and trying the biologics (like Humira/Enbrel) he said the next best thing to try would be Tramadol….which is not much more help than just taking Ibuprofen to be honest. I am still taking it because I’m afraid not to….to have the pain I have had at my worst times scares me to death!!! I just this year (June 2012) had more x-rays done and I am starting to show signs of fusing in my spine, nothing is fused yet but heading in that direction. My rheumatologist has finally laid it out to me that my only real option is the biologics if I want to live a somewhat decent life and be active for my kids. Even after hearing him put it this way I am still reluctant to go that route! I am terrified of the side effects and don’t like the idea of chemicals in my body! When I was given the first Rx of Darvocet, I filled it and it sat on my counter for weeks before I took the first pill….I don’t like drugs, period!! After he told me this and with my desperation level on the rise, I started looking into natural ways to handle this and decided to give acupuncture a try. I am happy to report that at this time it really is helping. I’m not gonna lie and say I’m totally 100% pain free but it has diminished enough to get me back into exercising and now starting yoga. I do a lot of praying to the only One who can truly help me and have faith that He will!!! I know that acupuncture won’t cure my disease but neither will the biologics and I am not knocking anyone who takes that route (I have heard great results) but it’s just not for me at this time. Thank you for exposing Ankylosing Spondylitis for what it really is…..a truly debilitating disease and not all in our heads!!!! God Bless to all of us who suffer with it…..keep the faith and do what feels right for you individually!!!! I plan to fight this disease as “naturally” as I can and as long as I can…..so help me God!!
Florida United States of America