Hi! My name is Christi (Christina) James, and I have AS! My symptoms started as a teenager, however didn’t get bad until after I had my first daughter. After her birth the pain was so bad, I needed to go and find out what was going on. I had an X-ray of my t-spine, as that was the part that was most painful for me at the time. When I got the results back, I felt confused, and worried that I was exaggerating my own pain. The nurse who read the results told me that there was “minor degenerative changes” and that there was no reason for me to be in the pain that I was claiming to be in. So I dropped it. Took Tyne pain. And figured that somehow I must have a very low pain tolerance. After that, other joints started hurting, at different times. So my doc ( who was awesome) sent me to my first rheumy! He was an amazing doc. Very thorough and kind. I wasn’t diagnosed at first, however he was leaning toward AS. After the birth of my second child, my symptoms worsened. The difficult part was that we switched insurance providers and I had to see a different rheumy. That wasn’t the easiest thing. I went through a few, giving them each time to diagnose, and time to treat before going to a different one. During this time, my family was getting upset with me. Thinking that I was looking for drugs, over exaggerating, and attention seeking. There was no support from my siblings or my mother. It hurt more than I can explain. Thankfully, my husband was more supportive than I could ask! He’s amazing, and I am truly blessed! Before I left the good rheumy, he took us both into his office and told us that I couldn’t do things like vacuuming, sweeping, mopping, making beds, etc. my husband said “alright, I can do all of that!” And he has been ever since! That was 14 years ago! My girls are very supportive as well. My older daughter was diagnosed with childhood onset fibromyalgia, GERD, and hyper mobility syndrome at age 8. She is a fighter! Pushes through so much! She, along with her sister, help with chores around the house, and are just amazing kids! I have been so very blessed! God is good!
I now run a nonprofit group in my area that helps children in my area. We provide loaded backpacks for school aged kids, and we sponsored Christmas gifts for well over 400 kids last year at Christmas.
Pain sucks, AS sucks, but it has also saved my life. By showing me what is truly important, and helping me to see the good in so many, that otherwise would have been missed!