Samantha Guel

My name is Sam and I am from Oregon. I first started having pain in middle school in my knees. The pain continued and when I was pregnant I started having awful hip pain. I had hip pain and knee pain that gradually increased and spread to my hands and upper back. One morning I woke with awful pain that shot up and down my leg when any pressure was applied. For the next three months I used a walker, and only had occasional two day breaks from the pain. I began having a lot of swelling in my joints. I felt awful because I had a one year old who I couldn’t play with or take care of on my own. I was sent to a rheumatologist who said I could have blood work done to see if I had the HLA B-27 gene, “just to rule it out”. He said that it would just indicate it could possibly be Ankylosing Spondylitis. Shortly after, I had a bad flare and dragged myself to my primary doctor’s office to be seen by a different doctor because my primary was out. After checking me out, I asked him what the blood work ended up showing because I hadn’t heard from the rheumy. He said it was positive and his eyes lit up in an “ah-ha!” moment. He practically ran from the room and came in with a giant medical book. He sat on the table next to me and showed me a page with “ANKYLOSING SPONDYLITIS” written at the top. As he read down the list of symptoms, to which I answered “yes!” at every one. He sent me across the hall to get an x-ray of my pelvis, then showed me the jagged bones. He said that is what AS looks like on an x-ray. After another year and a half of my primary telling me how sorry he was they couldn’t do anything more than medrol dose packs, ani-inflamatories and pain killers until the rheumy made a move, he sent me to a spine clinic. This doctor was amazing. He sent me to physical therapy and after working in PT for a few months, the therapists and doctor were confident it was my SI’s and sacroiliac injections would help. I had the injections on a Monday and by Friday I was almost a new person. My rheumatologist considered that, along with everything else, proof enough to re-diagnose me with AS, and start me on treatments.

Along with the struggles to take care of my son during his first two years, I had to quit my job, give up my active life, reconsider what I was going to school for, and lost a lot of self-esteem. Now that I have a diagnosis, hopefully I can start gaining things back with the help of my amazing doctors, friends and family.

Silverton Oregon United States of America


One Response to “Samantha Guel”

  1. Dear Samantha,
    Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. I am so glad you finally got your diagnosis, why it took so long I’ve no clue, maybe one day that will change!
    Sincerely Cookie

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