A.S. Face 0022 : Kacie Van Calster
My name is Kacie and I am 21 years old. I have had problems with AS since I was 13, but I wasn’t officially diagnosed until I was 17, during the fall of my senior year of high school. While I was growing up, my life revolved around sports, softball in particular. Nothing brought a huge smile upon my face like stepping out on the pitcher’s mound. The diagnosis of AS crushed me, especially because I was getting ready to start my senior year of softball. On the other hand, it was very relieving to know that there was actually something wrong with me and that I wasn’t just crazy. It was really weird to talk about at first; I would always get the typical “doesn’t that only happen to older people?” responses.
I am now in my senior year of college. I am studying applied mathematics and I am hoping to start graduate school next fall. College has definitely been an interesting experience for me. When I first started, I just liked to ignore the fact that I had AS and still tried to do everything everyone else was doing. I wanted nothing more than to fit in. For the longest time I didn’t tell many people, but as my AS progressed I had to explain to my friends why I couldn’t always partake. I took it very poorly when people didn’t understand; looking back now, how could I expect a bunch of 18 year olds to understand? But I am forever grateful for the friends that did.
I have spent the last 6 months without a biologic. Prior to that I was on Humira for a brief time, after I had shingles my doctor switched me to Remicade. I was taking Remicade and Methotrexate for about 9 months. It definitely helped my AS a ton, but I was constantly sick and I just couldn’t take it anymore. It was rough missing a lot of school, but I couldn’t be more grateful to the awesome professors I have had. Currently I am on Celebrex, Prednisone and Sulfasalezine and I am doing the best that I have been in about 4 years.
I definitely struggled for a little while, but I definitely came out on top. I have an awesome family, two very caring parents and two awesome sisters. This might seem strange but I think AS has affected my life in more positive ways than negative ways. It probably has been one of the biggest influences in shaping the person that I am today and I can’t say I would change that. My newest philosophy is to make the best of what the situation is and I try not to spend too much time getting down or upset about something that is out of my control to change. You are never alone 🙂
Greenbay, Wisconsin United States of America