I’m 56. Diagnosed in February ’05. I was a truck driver for over 25 years. By September of ’05, I was out of a job. Couldn’t pass the physical, due to limited range of motion. Until Feb. ’05, I just thought the years of truck driving was taking it’s toll. Previous doctors told me I had “Bamboo Spine”, but was ok to work.
Luckily I had enrolled in short-term disability through our insurance co. at work. That plus I was put on SS Disability the 1st time I claimed. Still, my income was cut nearly in half compared to trucking.Had to sell my house. Used most of my 401K, which I had to roll over into an IRA, paying bills. It was quite an ordeal to go through, which I’m sure I’m not the only one to have that experience.
Probably the worse thing that happened to me, because of this wonderful AS, besides losing my job, and wife, was when I was young, I played sports. I loved it. Baseball, football,wrestling, track. I really wasn’t that great at it, but that’s what all my friends did, and we all had a blast. When I was a sophomore in high school, 17ish, I was jogging around the track, and my hip just gave out on me and I fell. Lotsa laughs from my buddies. I was in pretty bad pain, but I hid it and just went to the showers. Later that week, I was mowing the lawn and the same thing happened. My Mom saw this and told me to stop the mowing and come in the house. After my Dad got home from work, Mom told him what had happened. He took me to our family Dr. and he sent us for X-rays at the hospital. Dad had to take a day off work to take me, that didn’t make him too happy. We had 6 kids at the time, and money was tight. We get the X-rays back to the Dr. and he says he can’t see anything that would cause my hip problem. He tells my Dad that I was probably just faking it to get out of mowing the lawn!! Dad looked at me differently for a very long time, like he couldn’t trust me anymore. I gotta tell you, that seemed to hurt more than any AS pain has ever given me since. Maybe it was my fault for not telling them it had happened while I was running at practice. But he was aware of my condition before he was struck with Alzheimer’s. Any way, I’m doing better financially, since Amgen is giving me my Enbrel free due to low income.
I am no way an artist, but AS has kicked my butt all week long, worse than I can remember for a long time. My spine is totally fused, neck is partially fused, and it seems all joints have been screaming at me all week! So I drew this AS Apple to illustrate how I’ve felt all week.
I really am glad I found ASAP on Facebook, and the Hurting but Hopeful!
Thank you for all you do to keep us aware that we are not alone in our suffering!