Within a week or two of going in for my blood draw, I received a phone call from the nurse. “All of your test results came back negative,” she said. “Yesssss!” I exclaimed. “Except for one.”
Why any human being would phrase a sentence like that, I cannot tell you. Did she think I’d been expecting her to call me with multiple positive results?? They say that most nurses and doctors never get used to breaking bad news, and that many are awful at it. Well…I can believe it.
The positive test result? Simply that I possess the gene HLA-B27.
The thing about HLA-B27 is that it makes it possible for you develop a certain autoimmune arthritis. Probable? Absolutely not. But possible? …yes.
Of the approximately 8% of the Caucasian population that carry this gene, fewer than 2% of them will ever develop Ankylosing Spondylitis. And among those who do, usually unhealthy conditions of the bowel are present…such as Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Ulcerative Colitis.
With odds that ridiculous, what were the chances I had it? And what were the odds I had an injury and an autoimmune arthritis?? The nurse informed me I’d have to see a Rheumatologist to make any determination. The closest one was in Wisconsin and the nearest opening was in December…three months away.
I calmly, but immediately, googled Ankylosing Spondylitis and read about its horrors. Inflammation of the SI Joints, nighttime back pain, severe pain… It was all so familiar. I could see how the doctors could imagine I had this, but I knew all I had was a crazy injury. It had started as an injury… I remembered the workout that kicked the whole thing off. One thing leads to another and core muscle injuries get complicated. Core muscles, joints, and tendons are connected like dominoes. It all made perfect sense. I had a core muscle injury that was exacerbated by Epstein Barr Virus. Nothing more, nothing less.