Rhonda McGrath

My name is Rhonda McGrath and I am 48 years old.  I was diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondilitis in May 2012. After having my 5th child who is now 14, I became really sick.  The day after I was discharged from the hospital I came down with  a high fever and a rash on my inner thigh. I went to the ER and they admitted me. I was told I had Cellulitis and after running more tests was told I had a Strep A blood infection, Toxic Shock Syndrome and Necrotizing Fasciitis. (my back was swollen and the skin was peeling off) Infectious disease doctors were called in and they told my hubby and I there was a 60% mortality rate. I had just given birth to my 5th child and they were telling me I might die! I spent 17 days in the hospital, about 10 of those in ICU before they finally got things under control. After returning home, all of my joints hurt so bad I couldn’t hold my newborn or change her diapers. Everything hurt! For the next 3 months I went back and forth to doctors who all said it was remnants from all I had been through. Finally, my husband went with me and ordered something to be done. After months of horrible pain, they sent me to a Rheumatologist who after one look at my blood work told me I had Rheumatic Fever.  I was treated for 3 or 4 months and told I could end up with heart trouble later in life due to the Rheumatic Fever and that I should get checked ever few years by a Cardiologist. Since then, I have never been pain free and have been in and out of physical therapy, had shoulder surgery, and been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. I knew deep down it had to be more than Fibromyalgia but doctors always blamed my pain on that. About 6 months ago I felt a hard lump on my sternum and went to the doctor. She ordered a CT Scan which showed new bone growth and after several months of tests (CT’s, a Nuclear Bone Scan and MRI’s) I was told I had AS. It was a relief to finally get a diagnosis. I have flare ups that last about 2-3 months at the time. I am on Humira injections and it seems to helping some. I am thankful to have found this wesite and enjoy reading others stories. You are all an inspiration to me!

Virginia United States of America




One Response to “Rhonda McGrath”

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

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