My name is Shayna Riddle and I am from Michigan. I recently turned 18 and am looking forward to graduating high school in just a few short months! I was officially diagnosed a little over a year ago with Ankykosing Spondylitis with secondary enthestitis complicated by hypermobility syndrome. I have suffered from joint pain for years, but the last three years have been especially tough. The severity of the hip and low back pain has become pretty intense as well as my elbows and ankles. I have undergone three major joint surgeries trying to repair damage from this disease. I can remember as a young child waking up in the night unable to move. This continues to this day. My treatment plan is weekly shots of Humira, daily diclofenec, and whole body physical therapy. I have found massage therapy takes the edge off a little. At times I will receive injections in my back to help with the pain and inflammation. I have always been an athlete. I think the most difficult part in all of this was learning that my body no longer worked the way I was used to it working….the way I want it to work. I have had some fusion in my spine and I can no longer run or jump as I did when I was younger. I try to remain as active as I can. The exhaustion sometimes takes over. I have an amazing support team in my family and I have friends that have really stood by me through all of this. God is good and I am hopeful I will be able to leave for college in the Fall with a plan to stay as healthy and active as I can for as long as I can. I am thankful for this website and for others who truly understand the debilitating effects of this disease. May you all be blessed on your individual journeys.
A Grandmother’s Heartache
Have you heard the crying in anguish
From a child whose legs felt lame?
Have you told them it surely will pass soon,
It’s only her growing pains?
Have you seen a teen on the mound
Destined that softball to send
Only to watch her elbow
Unable to make the bend?
Have you watched the tears as they flow down
Her face, full of sadness and fear:
Have you cringed as she tumbles over
While the reason still seems so unclear?
Do you watch as she picks up the pieces
And places a smile on her face
Only to see the leg pain
Determined that smile to erase?
Have you held a hand as it readies
To inject the drug of the week?
Are you tongue tied and fighting to hold back,
Unable to breathe or to speak?
And when flares made her body immobile
And the pain in her spine was so high
That you carried her into the E.R.,
Did you also break down and cry?
Do you hate Ankylosing Spondylitis?
Do you pray every day for a cure?
Do you hurt for the thousands of people
Whom this horrible disease must endure?
~ Luanne Fekken, grandmother to Shayna Elizabeth Riddle (A.S. Face #1589)