A.S. Face 0152: DeAnna Holman

My name is DeAnna Holman and I am 44 years old. I am a teacher by trade, but right now I am a dedicated stay-at-home mom with three terrific kids. I do free-lance writing, editing, and graphic arts (print ads and magazine layouts). I also volunteer in the community and at the elementary school when I am able.

I try to live with this invisible disability called Ankylosing Spondylitis the best I can and manage all of the Dr visits, PT, etc. My Dr.s keep changing the diagnosis to AS with RA or AS without RA. etc. I have been through the usual diagnostic hoops for six years and it continues. It really does not matter what they call it, it is all just initials to me to describe my chronic pain and personal hell…but I just try to keep smiling and laughing on the outside and it helps me get by. Humor is my saving grace.

I am currently trying to get in better shape because I have been in this vicious cycle of pain, not exercising, and being hard on myself and it has caused me to get out of shape. I need to get stronger. Being a mom, I put everyone else first, even on my worst AS days.  I need to get as healthy as possible so I can live a longer life! I also have to get rid of the high cholesterol, high triglycerides and type 2 diabetes and keep myself out of a wheelchair due to the AS. I’m a mess, but I have to have hope.

People say, to go for it and why haven’t I done it so far? I just have not been good at coping with the pain of this disease and I am trying not to take pain medicines. People really do not understand this disease at all. A conversation I had recently showed this to me loud and clear. I explained how I have this disease and explained how it has been hard and that it has contributed to making me out of shape. The person I was talking with said, “Big deal.” He said “It could be worse.” My walls went up and I just wanted to get out of there. Sure, I could be dead, but really? Oh the torture of this disease seems to be the worst kept secret. One cannot understand unless inflicted with the disease. Hopefully, sharing my story will help get the word out.

Each day I am so thankful to wake up and I realize all that I have: I am blessed. I have dreams and goals for myself and I am so happy each day that I get to work on those dreams. My ultimate goal is to beat the odds, go against my Dr’s advice, and one day run (or sort of run) a 5K. I want to get the word out about this disease and show others that people with the disease are still strong! I must have hope to push through.

Chico, California United States of America

7 Responses to “A.S. Face 0152: DeAnna Holman”

  1. Dear DeAnna,
    Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. It was almost as if you wrote my own story in many ways as I am sure it is for a lot of us. Reading it reminded me of a quote I have hanging on my office wall.

    “If you can imagine it, you can achieve it;
    if you can dream it, you can become it.”

    Let me know when you run that 5K I want to be there cheering you on!
    Sincerely Cookie

  2. DeAnna – Thank you for sharing your story! I think it is the worst thing to hear the comments we do about how “it’s not that bad” etc… “you look fine” I get very frustrated too. (Love Chico – lived there for 7 months in 1991… great park with the river through it. I also have relatives in Paridise)

  3. If you haven’t tried it yet, you should look into the No Starch Diet (NSD). Loads of info can be found at kickas.org in the forums. I have been on this diet for 4 years and remain off of meds. You will lose a lot of weight as well. it is the perfect diet for someone who is overweight with AS (like I was). I’m not completely pain free, i have flares on occasion, but my levels stay low enough that I don’t need any meds, not even advil or aleve.

  4. DeAnna, did you find you had to give up your teaching career due to your AS? Are you on disability?

    • I left teaching to be able to be home with the kids. It has been a little tough without that income, as I am not on disability. I think I could go back to teaching, but I would have to prepare for more sub days. I have signed up to sub, but have not had the time yet. I have taken on writing, editing and graphic arts jobs and that brings in some $. I am doing layouts for Growing Up Chico Magazine right now. I have bad flare days that mess with my life, so I will see what the future holds. Right now, I am trying to focus on getting fit, but it is tough. Good thing I am stubborn and determined! =)

  5. Dear Deanna, I know what you mean about the pain. Although I don’t live inside of you, my family doesn’t have a clue and really could care less about what I go through. It makes it that much more difficult. I am here as a friend and a support system is so important I have found. Write me if you would. I enjoy talking with people so we an encourage one another and share things.

    Blessings, Stephanie. #480

  6. hi DeAnna, I live in chico also 🙂
    Have you found a local rheumatologist you would recommend? What about a nutritionist? I am very new to this, not even diagnosed yet, but according to my doctor and what I read, everything is pointing to AS… Trying to figure out how to skip those who will not be helpful!! Thanks, Kasey

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