A.S. Face 0120: Andy Burns
Hi my name is Andy Burns and I have ankylosing spondylitis.
I am originally from Scotland but I live in Toronto Canada now and have been here 6 years.
I only got diagnosed almost 2 years ago but I have had back problems since 2001.
Back then I had an accident at work and following that I had a very bad car accident where I was lucky to be alive. Right after both these I started suffering from severe back pain.
The doctors just told me to rest and take pills. For 4 years I kept taking pills for pain where none of them worked so the pills kept getting stronger and stronger to the point I gave up. I wasnt getting the advice or help I needed so I decided to change careers. At the time I was a heavy machine operator. Time after time I kept changing my career to try to find something I could bear. Nothing worked so I just dealt with it. It wasn’t pleasant as you all know. Going to bed was fine, it was getting out of bed that hurt. Then as my day went on I became more motivational.
This was now my life’s roll.
6 years ago I moved to Canada and got into construction again. Because Canada isn’t a damp country my pain lightened a little.
I am and always have been a very active guy. I played sports all my life and could do anything.
2 years ago I was part of a soccer team and I was getting pain in my achilis tendant. Following this I went to my doctor. They sent me for lots of test and results came back that it was tendinitis. I asked if it was related to my back and got told a straight NO.
I got referred to different specialist where I asked the same question and always got same answer.
By this time in my life I was now on a cane. Active Andy has gone, my wife was helping me out of bed every morning, helping my put socks on, helping me get in and out of cars. I couldn’t bear this. Why me I kept asking. I can’t go on like this.
Now I couldn’t work so I decided to open my own business so I could hire guys to do the work for me.
I then got an appointment with a rheumatologist. This guy was a complete loser!! Arrogant and time-wasting!! Well that’s what I thought. He examined me and without me saying anything he said my back and foot could be related problems. This is where he sent me for numerous scans, blood test and so on.
A few weeks went by and he called me in. He told my I have ankylosing spondylitis. Not knowing or heard of this before I went home and right on google. Shocked!!! Completely shocked. This can’t be true I kept thinking. I now a have a non curable disease.
I am a strong-minded person so I started to read up more and more and started changing my ways. Eating healthier, trying to be more active instead of resting.
My rheumy called me back in to tell me I can take this medication called Simponi but it’s going to cost me $18,000 a year. Nothing like kicking me while I’m down. How can I afford this.
I tried the longer route by asking for help from ohip and successfully got it. I was now approve to get one years worth of the drug.
This is where my life was about to change for the better.
I took my first dose and within the first week I put my cane away. By the second week I was rolling out of bed myself, by the third I was putting my own socks on again and so on.
Now , today and every other day I am back. I took up cycling , joined a gym, started soccer again and even took up snowboarding.
I’m not completely cured as you all know. I still have my days but all in all I’m a new man. I act different, I think different, I have a whole new outlook on life. I treat people different and have a whole new respect for everything. I even adopted a new family. You guys!!!!!
I have had so much support and help from fellow ASers and I thank you all for what you have done.
Thanks for hearing my story guys.
I’m always here for you if you need support.
STAND TALL and
Let’s kick AS