I was finally diagnosed in February of this year. My symptoms really started after having my son in February of 2020, and I began having what I now know were flare ups. Looking back, when I was in high school I had really bad back pain that I thought was due to my background of dancing and cheering. For a few years it didn’t bother me as bad until I had my son. It started with fatigue, which I thought was due to being a new mom. Along with constant aches and pains in my knees, ankles, and lower back.
After a few months I decided to go to my primary physician to see if I could get an insight on what was going on. They ran some blood work and ultimately referred me to a rheumatologist. I went to see the rheumatologist and after more blood work and x-rays, he diagnosed me with Ankylosing Spondylitis. I had absolutely no idea what that was, I had never heard of it before. My doctor gave me information on it, prescribed me Celebrex and then sent me on my way.
I didn’t know what or how to think about the diagnosis because I had no idea what it was. After doing my research everything made sense and I realized how serious it was. I tried to alter my diet and take the Celebrex. I felt okay for a few weeks but the flare ups started up again. I went back to my rheumatologist and we decided to try an injectable medication, Enbrel. I have been on Enbrel for about three months now, and my flare ups have been far and few in between.
I feel like I finally feel somewhat “normal” now. I know I won’t ever be as mobile or energetic as I was before, but I am slowly learning to accept my reality now. This illness has been a long, lonely journey but it’s all still the beginning and I can endure anything life throws at me.
This story is intended to convey a personal experience and, because every person’s experience is unique, should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.