It all started one morning when I woke up with a piercing pain in my left hip which made me walk with a limp for around half an hour that day, I just thought I had gotten cramp during the night. It kept getting worse every morning but I just shock it off and acted like nothing was wrong. My mother had kept telling me that it was growing pains but I thought it was weird because I was 17 how much more growing could I get?
A couple months past and my dad was making a doctors appointment about his diabetes so he decided to make me one because of my constant pain in my left hip. The appointment came and I got referred to a different doctor who specialises in arthritis and he told me I may have a disease called Ankylosing spondylitis and he referred me to a specialist who can do all the correct tests to help make sure I do have this disease.
I had x-ray after x-ray , Tests after tests, and it is was official I have AS. It was kind of weird to think this pain in my hip was a disease that could never be cured. I’ve seen so many doctors I’ve lost count but I guess I’m not the only one. They spoke to me about which medications to go on, which physical therapists to see, which sports I should attempt. It was quite a lot to take in, it still is.
Some days I can have a pain free day which is rare but some days I can have one of the worst days ever! Because I am still in school I hate having worst days because I walk to school which helps ease my back pain but when I first wake up in a morning I seize up and It takes me about an hour to walk without a lot of pain, but if this doesn’t happen I have to get a taxi to school. I walk around school with a limp I’m in that much pain, which takes me a while to get to lessons. My friends know about my disease and they try help me get through it on my good and bad days.
When people ask me what ankylosing spondylitis is I just tell them to look it up because no one ever knows what it is which is upsetting because people who have this disease look normal and fit, and no one is aware of it. I am glad I found out about the facebook group ASAP because it has helped me find people who have AS just like me. It is important that people with this disease are heard so we can all come together and help each other through it.
Thank you, Cookie.
Mathew Woodhead 18 years of age
Bradford, England United Kingdom