Wednesday, June 18, 2008
My Back ....what a pain.. Ankylosing Spondylitis (say what?)
So for the last year I have been dealing with back pain, which totally sucks and makes me worried that in addition to menopause, I am really not physically up to carrying another person around for 9 months or an infant, or a toddler. I often think I am on that slippery slope to crippleville.
When I was 29 - oh so many many moons ago, I developed some very bad back issues and at first attributed it to the fact that I did high impact aerobics 6 days a week (remember the early 90s?). But after seeing three doctors it was determined that I might have this genetic pre-disposition to this specific kind of arthritis, but the x-rays were inconclusive. They gave me the right drugs, I got better, and I was back in step aerobics a few weeks later.
So smooth sailing (for the most part) until last year - at first I thought it was from gardening, or maybe yoga class but 12 months later and desperate I went to the rheumatoligist. I had the MRI where you sit in the big giant tube for 30 minutes of deafening clicks and vibration and low and behold yes, the dreaded genetically transmitted arthritis - and now there is evidence in my sacrum joints (not too much damage thank goodness) but it was there on the MRI.
What does this mean, it is all about inflammation management and exercise to maintain flexibility. The worst case is that my vertebrae fuse and my spine becomes rigid. But they have lots of special drugs now to prevent this from happening - including these new biologics called TNF - but I'm not there yet.
The rheumatologist suggested that I do some reading on the Internet about AnkylosingSpondylitis and so I did. And I am glad I did. Because buried near the end of the piece I printed out was a section on pregnancy. It said, "Do not deny yourself pregnancy" - or at least that's how I remember it. And so I will not.