Like many, I began this journey when I was around 14 or 15. At the time, my parents and doctors, all tried to convince me it was growing pains and that it was all in my head. I had pain in my knees, shoulders, and the worse one, my hips. Later to find out my SI joints are so tight they can barely get a needle in the joint.
When I turned 25, I began having trouble getting out of bed and that is when my wife pushed me to seek further medical attention. I had to see multiple doctors within the state until I finally got a proper diagnosis. Finally, in 2009, one doctor took the time to really analyze and research on my pains and eventually diagnosed me with AS, along with many other issues.
Through all the ups and downs and the deep dark pits, in the beginning, I didn’t feel like I could tell anyone the truth about my diagnosis, including my wife. I had feelings of fear and shame, and didn’t want to drag them down with me through the process. Fortunately, I have now accepted my disease and I want to share my story in hopes that it will inspire others to accept themselves and the life they have been dealt with. I want people to come to a safe place to talk about how they really feel without fear of judgment and find support from the members of the group.
I take TNF inhibitors along with pain medicine, muscle relaxers and methotrexate. I am also taking Klonopin for my anxiety when I am out in public. I rotate sleep medication at nights to help me with the insomnia I get from the pain. I live my life on a day to day basis, because I don’t know what tomorrow will bring.
I have been married for 14 years now, I have 2 daughters and 2 step-sons and 1 grand baby. When I do feel a little better, I get to play with my daughter. She is one of four and the last one living at home. I always try and stay positive for my daughter and my sweet little granddaughter. My children help in every way they can and that isn’t the way it should work. I have been on full disability for 4 years now, so I spend all my time trying to keep myself from thinking about my AS.
I am really passionate about showing others that you can push through and make a life of your own the best way you can. I also want to provide a place that is safe and people can bring their pain and share it to the group so just maybe we can help you release some of it. I look forward to seeing you at a future meeting.