My name is Stephen Cook, I am 38 and live in Southend-on-Sea in South East England .
I have been well aware of AS throughout my life as my father is a sufferer. Thankfully, my symptoms did not start until my late 20′s but started to get worse in my early 30′s. I also suffer with Psoriasis, often linked to arthritis. I was diagnosed with AS in 2006 and the advice from the doctor was to keep active. At this point I started to swim regularly and have taught myself the correct breathing techniques to swim front crawl. I am trying to resist drugs as much as I can and over the past few years have benefited from a pamidronate infusion where I sit on a drip for 3 hours in a hospital. This treatment is actually for osteoporosis but has been known to help AS sufferers including me. Two weeks after the infusion I can normally sleep more than the six hours maximum I can currently only manage.
After reading many of the inspirational testimonies on this website I feel lucky to have a relatively manageable condition at this moment in time. My main issues are sleeping due to the pain in my lumber region and recently I have experienced problems sitting down as I expect my coccyx is flaring. I do have exciting news however which is that I am performing in the London 2012 Olympic games opening and closing ceremonies as a drummer and on field marshal. It is quite physically demanding but I won’t let AS define me and I am determined to have a full life. In 2013 my wife and I are planning to travel, a process I am writing about on my blog – Life Begins @ 40 (www.stephendcook.blogspot.com). I am on twitter (@stephendcook)
Southend-on-Sea in South East England .
Stephen Cook To Perform In Olympic Ceremonies! http://www.nass.co.uk/news/as-patient-to-perform-in-olympic-ceremonies/