I am 33 years old and I was diagnosed with AS three years ago.
When I was pregnant in 2007, I experienced mild low back pain. I thought it was due to pregnancy or hormones so I didn’t think too much of it until it continued well beyond the birth of my daughter. The pain began to increase in intensity and spread to other parts of my body. A year after my daughter was born, I was diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis.
Three years, four rheumatologists, three physical therapists, and ten medications later, I am still here and my AS is still here. For me, the pain is constant but moderate. I have had roughly five pain-free days since 2009, and I have yet to find a medication that effectively reduces my pain for more than a month or two.
On my worst days, I just lay down on the floor with my daughter and read her books. When I tell her my back hurts, she says, “I’ll rub your back, mommy, to make it feel better.” The funny thing is, she does make me feel better and gives me one more reason to peel myself out of bed in the morning, even though everything hurts. I am thankful for her, for my supportive and helpful husband, and for God. Without these people and without faith, I know I wouldn’t make it.
I am so glad that people are seeing the faces of AS. In many cases, people who suffer from this disease look normal and healthy. It is so important that our voices are heard so we can fight for each other and for a cure.
Thank you, Cookie, for making this happen.
Washington, D.C. United States Of America