Please help me and Arthritis Warriors!
I was diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis at the age of 26. Even though I was diagnosed at 26, I have had joint, back and eye pain since my teens. I was bounced doctor to doctor with no answers. When I had my first bout of Uveitis, my ophthalmologist suggested a potential diagnosis of AS. After finding a great rheumatologist that listened and took the time to actually figure out the problem, I was diagnosed. With my prior eye flares, I had thankfully already been starting on immunosuppressants to help with my disease. I have frequent doctors appointments with different specialists due to complications from the disease, chronic fatigue, chronic debilitating pain, procedures, lab draws, IVs, infusions, ER visits, lots of meds including I ones that suppress my immune system, frequent ultrasounds, eye injections and so much more. As well as a lot of missed time from work and social activities. It is a constant battle with my insurance company to cover these procedures and meds I need. Most medications don't really work well for me and have even caused drug induced lupus.
Despite my struggles, I push through my pain and symptoms to travel (in the US and around the world), go to Atlanta United games, be involved in social events , and work. I want to share my story to teach others about AS and the importance of research. I also want to show kids that have arthritis that despite your struggles, you can achieve anything you want to in life with modifications.
I walk to raise funds for the Arthritis Foundation for advocacy work and bettering education with both physicians and the general population in order to reduce the time from start of symptoms to diagnosis. I am eager to also raise funds for more research to find better treatment options for AS.
Cheers to my fellow warriors!