My name is Andrew Elvin, and 31 years old from Norfolk, England. I haven’t explained my pain in detail, as we all know what that is like. I also haven’t explained how my illness affects my Fiancee as that is for her to tell. All I can say to her here is I am sorry that you’ve been sentenced to this.
I first felt pain in my back and hips when I was around 28 years old. It started off as a twinge in my lower back / hips. One day on the left, next day on the right. I used to work a tough job with unsympathetic bosses however I was strong and I could over-come it. When I felt pain I used to carry on as best as I could and try not to show weakness. Gradually over time the periods of pain would get more intense and take longer to go away. I visited the doctor on many occasions to be told I had just damaged the muscles in my lower back and rest would be the cure. I had pressure from work who thought I was being lazy and I absolutely hated being called that. Excuse me for not being positive in this story but my dreams have slowly disappeared one by one!
Before AS I spent my teenage years to my mid twenties being over weight, then one day I decided I would go for a little run. Running took hold of me. I would run late at night in the country, in the dark. I would get up before dawn to go running, I would run at any chance I could. I would sprint down country lanes, hop over ditches, splash through fords and watch the seasons change as the I had the world all to myself.
I had found at last the one thing that made me feel like a man. Nothing could affect me because when times were tough I would put on my running shoes, my woolly hat and my iPod and get myself on top of the world! I felt healthy, I was confident, I enjoyed my social life and my clothes fitted well. People treated me different, they gave me a little respect. I was unstoppable.
Then that pain came in my hip. The pain that consumed my body and my mind. The pain that has taken my soul, my passion, my toughness. It has taken all of my dreams!