A.S. Face 0022 : Kacie Van Calster
My name is Kacie and I am 21 years old. I have had problems with AS since I was 13, but I wasn’t officially diagnosed until I was 17, during the fall of my senior year of high school. While I was growing up, my life revolved around sports, softball in particular. Nothing brought a huge smile upon my face like stepping out on the pitcher’s mound. The diagnosis of AS crushed me, especially because I was getting ready to start my senior year of softball. On the other hand, it was very relieving to know that there was actually something wrong with me and that I wasn’t just crazy. It was really weird to talk about at first; I would always get the typical “doesn’t that only happen to older people?” responses.
I am now in my senior year of college. I am studying applied mathematics and I am hoping to start graduate school next fall. College has definitely been an interesting experience for me. When I first started, I just liked to ignore the fact that I had AS and still tried to do everything everyone else was doing. I wanted nothing more than to fit in. For the longest time I didn’t tell many people, but as my AS progressed I had to explain to my friends why I couldn’t always partake. I took it very poorly when people didn’t understand; looking back now, how could I expect a bunch of 18 year olds to understand? But I am forever grateful for the friends that did.
I have spent the last 6 months without a biologic. Prior to that I was on Humira for a brief time, after I had shingles my doctor switched me to Remicade. I was taking Remicade and Methotrexate for about 9 months. It definitely helped my AS a ton, but I was constantly sick and I just couldn’t take it anymore. It was rough missing a lot of school, but I couldn’t be more grateful to the awesome professors I have had. Currently I am on Celebrex, Prednisone and Sulfasalezine and I am doing the best that I have been in about 4 years.
I definitely struggled for a little while, but I definitely came out on top. I have an awesome family, two very caring parents and two awesome sisters. This might seem strange but I think AS has affected my life in more positive ways than negative ways. It probably has been one of the biggest influences in shaping the person that I am today and I can’t say I would change that. My newest philosophy is to make the best of what the situation is and I try not to spend too much time getting down or upset about something that is out of my control to change. You are never alone
Greenbay, Wisconsin United States of America