My name is Tim Lalli, 32 Y/O male currently from Port Orchard Washington. I am currently serving in the U.S. Navy as a Culinary Specialist with 14 years served. I was diagnosed with A.S. in August of 2013 but have experienced pain and symptoms since 2002. Been through absolute HELL dealing with Dr’s and being told “nothing is wrong”, or “it’s just normal wear and tear”!! At 20 years old, there were many times I couldn’t walk at all.
For many years just dealt with the pain and continued to serve full active duty and deployed in support of operation Iraqi freedom. 2011 things deteriorated so badly that my neck kept locking, I couldn’t stand straight up and just incredible amount of pain. In and out of the ER, occasionally looked at as a drug seeker due to the many IV doses of Hydromorphone and ketemine they would give me, but only to have the pain fully return the next day.
I was falsely diagnosed with a blood clot while serving in Yokosuka Japan and put on blood thinners. During the blood thinner treatment, I was also set up to get flown to Okinawa to receive spinal injections to relieve pain. The night before my flight, I randomly browsed the lovenox website which boldly states ” DO NO UNDERGO SPINAL INJECTIONS WHILE ON LOVENOX AS IT MAY CAUSE A BLOOD CLOT OF THE SPINE RESULTING IN PERMANENT PARALYSIS. ” I canceled my injections and brought that to the attention of my Dr’s and one said it’s great I caught that while another said I would have been fine. Crazy!!!!
Finally a Dr. I met with in August 2013 when i returned to the states, made it his point to get to the bottom of my pain. Many tests later he came back and said he strongly believes I have A.S. He says all of the symptoms perfectly match along with being HLA-B27+. From that point it was a life of self education…. Reading everything about A.S. I possibly could and trying to find a common denominator that would ease my pain. Still dealing with a great deal of pain, frequent flares and debilitating fatigue. Occasional iritis and chest pain.
Already fused in my cervical spine.
I’m currently going through a medical board where they are reviewing my entire medical history to determine if they will let me stay in for 6 more years so that I can proudly retire after 20 years of service. They quite possibly may just tell me to hit the road. It’s scary not knowing what my future holds in many aspects of life.
I have been through it all. Depression hit incredibly hard in 2011 when the pain was isolating me from everything and everyone including my wife. She has been my rock and has been by my side. I was going through a suicidal period of my life in 2011. It’s hard for me to talk about it because it takes me back to that time and I do not know how I’m still alive today. Went through addiction due to the massive amounts of opiate medication my Dr. had me on. I was taking up to 10mg of Dilaudid 3 times a day.
I’m now opiate free and only take Lyrica and mobic. Tried Humira for 3 months but felt like I had the flu the entire time. If I’m allowed to stay in, I plan to ask about other med options.
I’m still dealing with a great deal of depression but it’s more so associated with my career and not knowing what will happen or when I have my flares. Life has been incredibly hard but I’m learning so much and going through a huge lifestyle change in hopes I will find a new beginning.
Hopefully in the next few months I will find out if the Navy will let me continue my service. Thank you for letting me share my sorry.
Washington, United States of America