After years of back and hip pain the majority of my adult life, I was diagnosed at age 44 with AS, I am currently 49 (feel's like I'm 89). Despite the pain endured, I have worked all of my adult life (since age 18), have never been out of work, have always paid taxes. I live in New York, and commute to Manhattan every day (with the aid of a cane). It has been increasingly difficult to get to work, due to constant joint pain (back, hip, knee, ankle, shoulder, elbow, fingers and neck pain). New symptom - my Rheumatologist has suggested physical therapy sessions, because I have the beginning of fusion in my spine, back is beginning to hunch. Have increased inflammation of the eyes, having vision problems. I had surgery on one of my knees already, and having problems with the other. My x-rays have revealed that I have osteoarthritis in both hips and knees, and platar fasciitis in both heels. Can't sleep at night unless I take an Oxycontin, or Tylenol pm, due to joint pain, despite having a good mattress. I have a stressful job (law firm - 16 years) and only find mild relief when I take a week off from work, but I have no good days, they are bad to worse. My Rheumatologist helped me in getting a handicap license plate, and has suggested that I should consider going on disability. It appears that immune system disorders run in my family as my older brother was just diagnosed a year ago with Shulman's Syndrome. I have been seeing my specialist for about 5 years now, and have a numerous amount of x-rays, mri's and dr visits to justify my claim. Although this would create havoc with my finances, going on disability would be the most sensible solution for my health. Should I hire a disability lawyer to guide me through the process or do I have enough to file on my own? Does anyone have any suggestions?
Diagnosed with AS Nov 2007 (Seronegative spondylarthropathy), HLA-B27+, have taken Celebrex, Prednisone, Methotrexate, Enbrel, Humira, currently taking Simponi, will be starting Remicade in January 2012, Naproxin, diclofenac, Tylenol PM.