A.S. Face 0171: Ryan Bearpark

Name: Ryan Bearpark
Age: 20 years
Diagnosed: Age 15
Detail: Ankylosing spondylitis has affected my family within the last three generations; my late grandfather and my uncle were also sufferers. I remember my mother telling me how it took years for both to be diagnosed, one such treatment offered to my grandfather was a full body cast in order to try and stop any unwanted growth affecting his posture. My uncle, after being told his back soreness was due to overworking, spent 8 years waiting for his diagnosis by which point his movement was severly restricted. Both suffered from an inability to turn their heads, to bend over and struggle to walk; it amazes me that they both managed to work as mechanics for as long as they did.
To understand the pain they must have been going through is impossible. Not only physical pain, but mental pain and this affects me greatly. The idea of people potentially mocking me if I were to suffer with the extreme curvature of my spine my family has previously experienced initially upset me. However, now I have a more positive outlook on the condition thanks to the many brave faces I have seen on here. Your stories inspire me to accept any physical changes that may occur, but these will only lead to strengthening me psychiologocially. I will forever remember to keep smiling and enjoy myself as much as possibly, although it may not include drawing moustaches on myself as seen in my picture!
Thank you for inspiring me,
Ryan Bearpark.
United Kingdom

7 Responses to “A.S. Face 0171: Ryan Bearpark”

  1. Dear Ryan,
    Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. What you speak of in your story about your grandfather and uncle is one of the reasons, I wanted to start this site. Not only to bring us together in awareness but to offer each of us understanding and hope, but my strongest desire is that the younger generation and newly diagnose with not loose hope and get lost in the despair but seek answers seek knowledge seek treatment and make the best out of their lives. I love your moustache don’t ever erase it.
    Sincerely Cookie

  2. WOW Ryan, great to see you have a good attitude! Dont give up your attitude ok, and dont stop having fun and joking around.. when you do.. youre lost!!! Whatever you do keep moving!!! Keep stretching, exercising and walking.. when you stop that gives fusion time to set in! Sleep on your back!!!! even if you have to be a little elevated, its important because if you are going to fuse.. which Im sorry to say you are… its best to be in an upright staight position! Be careful and take your meds, dont let them dope you up too much but take the anti-inflams. to keep it in controle for as long as you can! If something doesnt seem right or something a Dr tells you doesnt make sense.. dont be afraid to speak up!!!! YOUR BODY YOUR RIGHT!!!!!! You look like such a great young man, I hope that AS wont do to you what it has done to me… you have a chance Ryan.. Ive seen one of Germanys lucky cases.. my neighbor Peter who has it.. Peter has it for over 50 years and you would never know it.. he may feel the stiffness but he is not bent over and is quiet active… Then there is my friend Hatchie, he is Germanys worse case of AS.. he is in his 40s.. weights under 45 kilos can do nothing for himself.. is in a chair and fused so bad he cant even chew food.. he mushes it with his tongue.. they coudnt stop his AS it went wild.. you have the chance with the meds today to live a much better life then most of us will ever get.. GO FOR RYAN.. show us all how great you can be!!!!!!!!!!!!! hugs from next door in Germany… Sally number 36

  3. Ryan, it’s great to see that you have a good sense of humor. You’re setting a good example for the rest of us. Cool pic with the mustache, LOL. I’m still working on my ‘Face’ story, until then, I’m just reading others stories and experiences and getting a better feel for what I’m up against. Thanks to you cookie for this ongoing project, it’s one of the most helpful and encouraging things around. And to sally: that’s a scary story about that guy that can’t even eat any more, has to use his tongue to break up his food. I might be headed there myself because when I yawn it feels like a vise is gripping my neck and sometimes just opening my mouth causes that feeling as well. Sure would be great if they just found a total cure for this terrible disease, right?

    • Joe,

      Thank you for taking the time to read our stories. I look forward to adding you. You are most welcome believe me it has been a honor to be part of such an amazing group of people.
      Sincerely Cookie

  4. I will eventually I’m sure have much more to add to this but I thought I would just give a brief introduction seeing as I’m very very early on in my experience with the disease, In response to Sally Ann, I am very active all things considering, although I do not play as much sport as previous. I still play football, enjoy mountain biking and all sorts whereas before I did enjoy playing rugby, competing for a local athletics club and went to the gym at least 3 times a week! I’m hoping to start many of these activities again as it always seemed to put a smile on my face. If I’ve learned anything from my families experience, it’s that you should never let any physical pain get in the way of making you not only feel good about yourself, but also to put a smile on your face.
    Sincerely Ryan.

  5. Thank you for your wonderful posting, Ryan! I have A.S.,and my son is now exhibiting features of it as well (he is also 20 years old). Stay strong and keep on keeping on! You are a wonderful young man! Stephania #445

  6. Just thought I would leave a comment up here as an update to my situation! I have just completed an MSc in Applied Sport and Exercise Science, battled testicular cancer and non-hodkins lymphoma and have come through the other side! I sit here now with my beautiful 9 week old son, thankfully with no major issues thus far. I have a bit of a niggle in both of my shoulders but nothing too debilitating currently. Hope everybody is doing well!

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