Pamela O’Hare

Face 712As I lay here, 8 weeks out of surgery from having a pain pump implant, I look back at the long and winding road that brought me here.

My name is Pamela O’Hare and I live in the Pacific Northwest.  I have Ankylosing Spondylitis and I am 54 years old.
My story started in 1986.  I gave birth to my 3rd child earlier in the year.  Dx’d with Ulcerative Colitis a little latter on in the year and by the end of the year Dx’d with A.S.  I was on Sulpha for 4 years and went into spontaneous remission.  I am very thankful that I was blessed with this remission to go on raising my children.  Very little was known about A.S. then.  I got a small brochure and was told little by my Dr.  I assumed you had to have U.C. to have A.S. There were no personal computers to look things up then.  To my surprise when I came out of remission at the age of about 50, I didn’t have a clue as to what was going on.  I didn’t have Colitis anymore and went to see several Rheumatologist who threw every NSAID known to man at me to no avail.  Pain started increasing and I felt real bone pain in my spine throughout and still no dx.  Some primary care physicians wouldn’t take me after we moved to a new area due to pain issues.  I felt like a pariah.  I had been dx’d with Fibro about 5 years prior to that.  This was something different! This was bone pain unlike Fibro that hurts in the muscles and every other soft tissue.  I was desperate for relief from both by then.  Again, I was blessed by my husbands office manager who had a pain pump.  I ran to my first pain clinic and found relief.  Found another Rheumatologist an hour and a half away.  By this time I had seen the word Ankylosing Spondylitis on a Fibro message board and now had a computer.  I flew to this new Rheumy and at first he was quite unbelieving.  He didn’t take any M.R.I.s or x-rays.  I saw my former back surgeon and had him take full M.R.I.s of my spine and there was the proof.  He just recently took more.  Rheumatologist then put me on a TNF blocker and when that one didn’t work he put me on another.  Now I go for infusions.  Still progressing fast.  Nothing seems to stop this beast.  I am completely disabled but not approved for disability yet.  I fight Uveitis constantly and am currently fusing at the ribs and my neck is almost done fusing.  My shoulder is involved now too.  Still, very thankful for the time I had to raise my children.  I feel like I have a Tiger and a Bear in my body and they are fighting all of the time.
With this new pain pump to rid me from the horrible bone pain of Ankylosing Spondylitis, I feel I have a new chance at life.
Pamela O’Hare
Washington, United States of America

3 Responses to “Pamela O’Hare”

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

  2. Dear Pamela,
    Thank you for sharing your story.
    My father, Gary, has Ankylosingspondylitis as well. He is currently unable to stand, sit, or function longer than about 40 minutes before he has to lie down due to severe pain. He has seen 3 doctors in regards to a pain pump. The first wants to give him a pain pump, but because of his severely fused back he discovered that he would have to have a hole drilled in his back to make the pain pump work. This doctor wants another doctor to drill the hole in his back. Ends up that THIS doctor preferred to fuse two sections of my dad’s vertebrate that were NOT fused (the rest of his vertebrate is entirely fused). This doctor believes that the fusion itself will relieve the pain though he has NEVER worked on anyone with AS. My Dad does not agree with this doctor and decided to pursue the pain pump with the first doctor again. However both doctors came back with the decision that they should fuse Dad’s two areas AND put in the pain pump. Since Dad did not trust their decision, he decided to see a third doctor. The third doctor says that he can put a pain pump in, but that there is no guarantee that the surgery for the pain pump will turn out well. This doctor says my dad could be WORSE (like not able to sleep without pain/ not able to drive/ etc.). Consequentially my Dad has decided not to pursue ANY pain pump until reading your story. He would really like to speak with you personally on the telephone (he doesn’t care to use the computer, which is why I’m the one sending you a message). My Dad would like to talk to you, Pamela O’Hare, about your journey with AS. He (Gary) is desperate for relief. He wants me to e-mail his phone number which is 1-260-557-5858. Thank You again for sharing your story. We hope to hear from you.

  3. Hi I have been looking to connect with other strong, brave A.S sufferers out there. We need eachother. We can all agree that this is difficult and unpredictable. Learning to become more optimistic and positive has given me strength I didn’t know I had. Even when I know I’m faking it…

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