A.S. Face 0349: Louise Irwin
I am 26 today and have been suffering for at least 5 years.
I live in Australia.
I had to find out what was wrong after it ruined my career I was exhausted, angry and in a lot of pain. After changing jobs three times and waking up in agony knowing there was nothing I could do but suffer because no one could help me. I tried everything of course, remedial massage, acupuncture, Chiro, Physio, Sports Therapist… you name it, I tried it. With little or no relief in fact in some cases the pain was increased. I had begun wishing that I hadn’t even tried to fix the pain. Basically became depressed and had had enough so I found a good doctor and after countless times of going in crying, finally after CT scans and so many blood tests it seemed that we had found the answer HLB-27 postitive. The illness I had to experience would have to have been one of the lowest points of my life- no ones deserves that kind of pain. Finally finding out I had AS has been a relief but it’s only early days- I officially found out 2 weeks ago. I know that my future may be affected with this diagnosis. As a young single, independent and confident female- people love to judge my character. Still this day I have little support and friends don’t care and don’t understand. People laugh if I say arthritis. Because I am such a fun-living soul no one would think I suffer day in day out. I am starting to feel old though – wearing high heels is a thing of the past. I’ve worked hard to get to where I am now, and I am happy- although AS brings me to feel bitter I still have a higher appreciation for life and I have Hope that we will be OK. I am staying positive but let’s face it it’s hard. I’m now living my life to prevent any flare ups but sometimes it’s inevitable. I’m getting much fitter and I aim to do marathons and fun runs to help raise awareness for AS. I will strive to be as good as I can when i am feeling as good as I can!! I could whinge on forever about how AS has affected my life, but it’s already taken me a week to write this because at times I feel lost for words. I still believe I can Live The Dream- one must have lived through a nightmare to be able to grasp the concept. Thankyou to ASAP for the awareness of Ankylosing Spondylitis.