Who am I ?
My name is Scott Flinchbaugh and I am from South Central Pennsylvania. I was bitten by a brown recluse spider in July 2009. A few weeks after the wound on my foot got better, I started exhibiting the signs of arthritis. The surgeon and infectious diseases doctors that were my caretakers during a surgery on my bite ankle almost 6 months after the bite is the one who figured out that I had developed AS as an autoimmune response to the infection and destruction of bone and tissue in my ankle.
Talk about a life changing disease. I would estimate that I am 25% of the person that was prior to diagnosis. The fatigue, the pain, and the not knowing what comes next is a way of life that takes some real adjustment. In addition, the process of trial and failure of drugs to help a person each individual person with AS is not always cookie cutter medicine. I have tried sulfasalazine, oral methotrexate, then switched to injectable methotrexate (MTX). During the last 9 months in addition to the MTX we have tried Enbrel with no impact, and Humira from which I developed the side effect of psoriasis of the scalp. In addition I’ve run the gambit of pain medications. I seem to develop a tolerance for them rather quickly or my disease is progressing so fast, that I am now on low dose morphine 24/7.
Working with AS is a struggle and everyone has to handle it as best they can. So of course, that places the AS learning curve on your employer and co-workers. You start to feel like a broken record.
It’s so important to raise the awareness of this disease, its symptoms, its challenges, and even the drugs that are used to treat it as well as their side effects.
The faces of Ankylosing Spondylitis is a great concept. Let’s raise awareness.
Doing so will not only help us, but help those that are facing this disease in their differential diagnosis .
Pennsylvania United States of America