I am Pete Petersen, and I live in Morrison, Colorado. I am 68 years old and was diagnosed with AS when I was 30. I was showing signs of the disease but did not know what they were or what they meant, i.e. leg and hip soreness and tingling, lower back pain. These things never seemed to last very long so I did not give them much thought. It wasn’t til I had a bad car accident, after which my back pain was horrible. I decided to go to an orthopedic surgeon that had done some minor surgery on my knee. He took x-rays of my back, and told me he would like me to go see a rheumatologist, as he saw some things in my back that he thought might be AS. This was the first time I had ever heard the term ankylosing spondylitis. My first visit, the rheumy looked at my x-rays and did a blood test and diagnosed me with AS. After all these years of hearing and talking to people, I hear how many were misdiagnosed at first or not diagnosed at all, so in some ways I feel fortunate to have been diagnosed right away. It has been a long road with plenty of ups and downs. These days I am retired and in some ways feel better than I did years ago. Thanks to new meds and a great rheumatologist I have been with for many years, I am able to have a decent quality of life. I have been a member of the SAA for over 20 years and always have enjoyed Spondylitis Plus magazine and its stories and research articles. I enjoy our support group meetings, and the seminars we have been fortunate to have now and then.