Atlanta
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Meetings offer education, encouragement, emotional support, and allow for open discussion about managing and living with spondyloarthritis.

Upcoming Meeting(s)

Wednesday, November 25, 2020
7:00 pm

Meeting Location

Virtual meeting, using Zoom!

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/97774761649?pwd=L1FNc3hZWXkyMC90Wm9HaS9vVHluZz09

Meeting ID: 977 7476 1649
Passcode: 447641

Upcoming Dates:

November 25th, 2020
December 23rd, 2020

Social Media

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Facebook: @spondylitis 

Twitter: @spondylitis 

Instagram: @spondylitis 

YouTube: Spondylitis

LinkedIn: Spondylitis Association of America

Topic: Roundtable Discussion

Leadership

Dana Marton

Dana Marton

About Atlanta's Support Group Leader

Dana Marton

I am a mom, a wife, a daughter, a belly dancer, a nurse, a blogger, a children’s ministries teacher, and a dance teacher. I have Psoriatic Arthritis with spinal involvement, Ankylosing Spondylitis, Sjogren’s, Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Hypermobility EDS, Avascular necrosis, Osteopenia, Osteoarthritis, Pseudotumor Cerebri, Endometriosis, Hypertension, and I am also being watched for Lupus.

I didn’t walk until I was over one year old. I started dancing at age 2 because my mom thought it would help build up my muscles and strength. I always had aches and pains, but doctors always thought it was because I danced and had growing pains.

My Avascular Necrosis (which is in my 6 large joints: hips, knees and shoulders) was likely caused by connective tissue involvement from the autoimmune/auto-inflammatory arthritis diseases. Because of the AVN, I have had my right shoulder and both hips replaced. I have had shingles 48 times, some very mild cases, and some more severe leading to nerve damage and post herpetic nerve pain.

I got married in 2000, and things kept getting worse for me. In 2002, I had core decompression on both hips. The right hip took; the left did not. I was in a wheelchair the following year and remained there for 6 months. I had a total hip replacement of the left hip in December 2003. I was 29 years old. I went from the wheelchair, to a walker, to a cane.

I didn’t understand why all my joints and muscles hurt so much if I had AVN in only my hips. I soon found out that I had AVN in my knees and shoulders as well. Then a rheumatologist said that I had to have something going on systemically if I had all these joints involved in AVN. I was diagnosed with sero-negative rheumatoid arthritis in 2003, and then sero-negative spondyloarthropathy. Then I was also diagnosed with Sjogren’s.

In 2006, I was finally diagnosed with fibromyalgia, after having excruciating muscle pain for all those years with no relief, and with psoriatic arthritis when I broke out with psoriasis from head to toe (and I also had a sausage digit indicative of psoriatic arthritis). My right shoulder collapsed the day before Halloween in 2009. I had it replaced on March 29th, 2010. I had my right hip replaced May 10th, 2012. It collapsed almost completely around the holidays.

I didn’t give up at all, though. I continued to belly dance. I even performed in a show in two different dances a few days before my surgery. I am so glad I did. It kept my spirits high. It kept my muscles strong, and it protected the area around the joint until the hip was replaced four days after our belly dance show.

I look forward to leading the Atlanta SAA Support Group! I hope that we can all help one another by sharing our stories, how we all cope, and listening to one another. I will stay vigilant with studying any new treatments and up-to-date therapies for the people who attend our support group meetings.

It has been a long road for me, and it will continue to be. I anticipate that I will continue to need more surgeries and that new procedures, treatments, medications, and possibly even diagnoses are in my future. The reason I wanted to share this with you is that we all have such incredible medical stories. We all have different stories, but we all seem to be more alike than different. I can’t wait to meet all the new faces at our next Atlanta meetings!

Want to Start a New Support Group?

We’d love to have you join our team of passionate volunteers leading our spondylitis educational support groups! Learn more about how to get started here, and reach out to programs@spondylitis.org