Iritis – The Last Straw

I have spent almost two years researching and trying to find the root causes to my Ankylosing Spondylitis / Autoimmune condition without taking a biologic medicine like Enbrel.  Although I’ve taken many steps to improve my condition like my Crohn’s disease diagnosis or my usage of Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN), I was being forced back into taking a biologic:

  • Continued to lose weight and at my lowest was 116 pounds (originally 158 lbs.)
  • Continued nutrient malabsorption
  • Fatigue / Anemia (usually sleeping twice a day & needing 10+ hours of sleep / day)
  • Sitting in chair too long makes my body very stiff.
  • Stools loose.
  • Very hard to squat down or bend over (can’t really do this unless I assist with holding onto something) to pick something up.
  • Flare-ups from foods, sometime even safe foods.
  • Get cold quickly along with poor circulation & purple fingers (Raynaud’s Syndrome)
  • Weak body: Need a rope to get out of bed, can only go to the pool for 10 minutes, no gym workouts, etc.
  • But the last and final straw was developing Iritis on 10/9/13.

What is Iritis?

Iritis which is basically inflammation of the eye.  Symptoms include (and I felt) pressure, sensitivity to light, redness and soreness – not to mention I was almost blind in my right eye.  If you are reading this somehow and develop Iritis GO TO THE OPHTHALMOLOGIST RIGHT AWAY.

Here is what it looks like:

Iritis before & after

How Did it Affect Me?

On 10/9/13 I had my mother come down to help me out and went to an Opthamologist in the afternoon to get the generic for Pred Forte & Cyclopentol.   Delaying the eye drops will only make things worse.  My Iritis was so bad I had to go to the doctor’s office blind and have her guide me to sit and move from one room to another.  Even in low light it was very painful and the eye exam was not easy.  Before I left, I requested & received blackout glasses and they have been very effective.    Rest of the day was low-light in the house, sleeping and keeping my eyes closed as much as possible – no TV, no electronics of any kind.  For the next week I had to stay inside and close all the blinds to my house and keeping the lighting very low.  I could only work on the computer for short periods of time and had to take naps to recover and keep my eyes from the light.  After a week or so, I was able to travel, but the Pred Forte continued to keep my right eye in a foggy haze along with seeing halos & stars around artificial lighting.  On 10/31 I saw the doctor and need to take an additional medication called Phenylephrine to stop my Iris from sticking to my Pupil.  I take that 3X/day along with Cyclopentol (1X per day) for a week.  The Pred Forte I take 3X for 1 week, then 2X for 1 week, and then 1X/day for a week.  Total time taking care of the Iritis:  1 1/2 months + 4 doctor visits.  For more info, visit my daily diary on Iritis starting from 10/9/13.

If Iritis was the Last Straw, What Did I Do About It?

As I mentioned below, I was being forced back into taking a biologic because my symptoms were becoming my root problems.  Instead of taking Enbrel again, I talked with my Rheumatologist and he prescribed Humira.  It works the same as Enbrel only it’s FDA approved for Crohn’s disease and Ankylosing Spondylitis.  I’ve been on it for a few days now and I have seen vast improvements to all my symptoms.  I will be posting my results along with my daily diary while on Humira in the next few days.  If you prefer to see my daily diary on Humira right now, review my diary on my LDN page starting on 10/25.