Hi my name is Shannon Brown. I am 39 years old and was diagnosed with AS in February of 2008. My life with AS began with my big brother, Jeremy Scott. He had hurt his entire life but when he got to his twenties the pain took over. After seeing every doctor and getting told “it must just be in his head”, we felt alone. Jeremy went to prison for some bad things he had done. While in there he got real sick and the doctor’s there diagnosed him. Once Jeremy was released he was in so much pain he couldn’t work anymore. He ended up in a wheelchair before he turned 30. In June, 2004 he got pneumonia and refused treatment. He passed away two weeks before his 35th birthday.
I had hurt in my back ever since I was a little girl. I just thought it was from a bike wreck I had when I was eleven. I started hurting in my hips a lot. The pains would come and go I never even imagined it could be AS because I had been told it was a mans disease. After I lost my husband in 2007 I had a hysterectomy. I kept hurting more and more often. I went to my GP and they couldn’t find anything. I went to this doctor and that doctor, I got no where. I bet I’ve tried every antidepressant under the sun. I kept telling every doctor that I wasn’t depressed I was in pain. Finally, I got to see my rheumatologist in one visit and a round of blood work he found that I was suffering from AS. The so called “man” disease was in this woman! At first I was mad because I had told every doctor that I was feeling the way my brother did, and they kept dismissing it. I eventually came to terms with the fact that I will live with this for the rest of my life!
I have two boys who count on me even more so since their daddy died. I refuse to let AS rule my life! I stay as active as I can. I have been without a job since 2007. I would be lying if I said that I don’t have days where I can’t even get out of bed. The part that upsets me the most is I can’t do things I want to do. I feel like my boys only know me as a sick person, and I want them to know that I am still a person with feelings and dreams.
Yes, life with AS is testing I get so angry sometimes, then I cry. Some days I want to just scream! I have lost friendships and even family members because they don’t understand what I deal with everyday. I don’t have time for silly drama and childish games. I was so excited to find The Faces of AS group. It has helped not only me but it has helped my family understand a little bit of what I’m going through. My story is still a work in progress but as I said, AS will not rule my life!
North Carolina, United States of America