My name is Ted Luoma and I live in Shreveport, Louisiana. I have had back problems for many years. The past couple of years, my back pain has intensified and I now have chronic knee and ankle pain. I also have gout that flares up in my flat feet.
I finally saw a rheumatologist a couple of months ago. He asked a lot of questions, but within the first few minutes he said, “Based on your symptoms you don’t have rheumatoid arthritis or lupus. You have ankylosing spondylitis.”
Just speaking with him answered numerous questions about my health that I never even knew to ask. He was also kind enough to work with me so I don’t have to worry about paying for the high costs of Humira. When the pharmacist said the second month was going to cost an exorbitant amount, my doctor switched me to Enbrel so that my deductible would be met with the drug copay plan. I pay five bucks and I get credit for thousands of dollars against my deductible.
Enbrel works okay. It usually takes a couple of days to kick in. Then I feel pretty good for three days. By day seven, it’s time for another shot, and my pain levels are maxed out. It’s better than not having any medicine at all.
Full time work is out of the question. I have a part time job where I work maybe 10-15 hours a week, but I’m also a volunteer for Mercy Chefs. When there is a disaster, I have to suck it up because there are people to feed that just lost everything to a tornado or hurricane. Those days where I’m on my feet fifteen hours a day kill me, but God carries me through.
Louisiana, United States of America