3 years ago the mother of a 20 years old gentleman visits me in the clinic for the first time, her son refused to come because he is fed up and lost hope after suffering for so many years.
At the age of 13, he began having occasional pain of lower back and hip pain that got worse over time and became increasing disabling to him, preventing him from doing even the most normal activities at his age. The family sought help many times, but was told no disease could be found. By this time the patient got fed up and refused to seek help anymore.
His mother brought a big stack of labs, x-rays, and few MRIs. Upon reviewing them it was obvious he has ankylosing spondylitis, and told her that we can help.
She was able to convince her son to visit the following week; he came to the clinic limping due to the pain in his right hip and the back.
We started DMARDs (Disease Modifying Antirheumatic Drugs) informing them that this group is slow to take effect and will need several months to start working so they need to be patient, and if it fails then we will need to add a biologic medicine, which is an expensive form of treatment. They did not have insurance but seeing the suffering of their son they wanted to go to biologics right away but we convinced them to give the less expensive medicines a chance.
To my surprise, the following visit one month later, he walked in normally without any limp, an improvement much quicker than usual, but it was a happy surprise. He continues to do well and he even started playing basketball, though I advised him to limit that to the minimum since jumping is high impact and can result in more damage to his hip, but he is enjoying his life again.