A Vision Begins With One Man’s Courage
A life of Ankylosing Spondylitis
I am Kevin I am 57 years old and I live in England my problems started about 50 years ago at a time when even less was known about this Disease and if you had pains they where growing pains or imagination.
Treatment was nothing or pain killers. It took 23 years to get a diagnoses. Exact words from Rheumatologist who gave me diagnosis.
(You have Ankylosing Spondylitis it is a rare disease there is no cure and you will end up in a wheel chair goodbye see you in 6 months).
Well here I am 27 years later bent with severe Kyphosis fully fused spine,constant Iritis, breathing restricted by fused ribs, Chronic Obstructive Pulmery Disease. Insulin dependant Diabetes, IBS and Carpel tunnel syndrome.(But yay no wheel chair)
As you can see from my photos I am a classic case of Ankylosing Spondylitis. Its not a pretty site I know but this is me. I cant change the way I look I used to try and hide it avoid mirrors and shop windows and refuse to have my photo taken but recently realised what’s the point every one else can see me. Hiding from myself is not changing the way I look to other people and is just making me miserable. If I didn’t have Ankylosing Spondylitis I would not be me as I am now my whole life would have been different. I wouldn’t have my wonderful Daughters and Grandchildren I wouldn’t have met Joanne my very supportive wife. And I wouldn’t have met all the wonderfull friends I have who like me have Ankylosing Spondylitis.
So although AS is a very restrictive painfull disfiguring Disease remember you wouldn’t be the wonderfull people you are without it.
My aim is to make as many members of the public aware and under stand what we go through in our every day lives how we are not different from them we all bleed the same we all love the same just because some of us are bent over or fused bolt upright we are still human. If they want to stare I will stare back if they want to know more then ask we don’t bite. I have only known one person to stop and ask what I had wrong with me in all my years with AS. Talking is what spreads the word and makes people aware of us and our lives.
Hiding from our selves and our fears does not help us or make others aware. Always remember people with AS are strong in mind if not in body we have to be tough to survive in this world with all our problems always think positive enjoy your life as best you can even with your restrictions you only get one shot at it and most of all remember what we do for recognition of Ankylosing Spondylitis today and in our life time will make all the difference to the new generations of sufferers.