Steve “Chigger Tracks”
I’m Steve Oxford. 54 years old and diagnosed in March of this year with AS. Diagnosed by accident almost.. Since my 20’s I had a “bad back”. Sciatica and it’s associated leg weakness was what the docs all agreed was my troubles.. Two discs herniated in the lumbar section of my spine were removed when I was 24. Still though the “bad back” stayed with me.. Tylenol and beer were my meds for the next 30 years.. Pancreatitis ended my drinking days almost 7 years ago. 6 years ago, out of nowhere, my right rotator cuff and bicep tore. I’m not a ball player or work above my head. I had a desk job at AT&T (now retired). Had to have surgery to fix the rotator.. I noticed my left shoulder starting to go around the first of this year. By the end of Feb my left arm was pretty useless so I went to see about it.. The ortho doc, in doing his exam, tested my strength and movement and in the course of the exam he said:
“ok, now look up as far as you can”
“look up, now as far as you can” (as if I didn’t hear him the first time)
“I am looking up” I said..
“Hmm, we need to get an MRI of your cervical spine too…”
Fast forward. I’m fused from c8 up through c4.. Tested positive for HLA-B27. Have started Sulfasalazine for inflamation and Gabapentin for pain management. I asked my rheumy (which took 2 months to get in to see..) “Don’t you want to get some pics of the rest of my spine/hips?” he said, “I’ve seen enough. No need for more pics..”
A little over 2 weeks ago, I had my left shoulder operated on so it’s is on the road to feeling better and being serviceable again.. And now I know what’s up with the rest of me.. Here’s to being able to play guitar again! And here’s to the rest of you! Smile as best you can.. As often as you can..
Tennessee, United States of America