A.S. Face 0698: Juliette Wills

Juliette Wills, 40 years old, lives in Brighton, England.

In 1999, I had a bright future ahead of me as a sports journalist. I travelled the world covering Grand Prix races, interviewed Premiership footballers and wrote a football column for The Guardian newspaper. I had also inadvertently set up a shy Spice Girl named Victoria with a promising young footballer during one memorable interview. I had just bought her first home, in Brighton; life couldn’t have been better.

In 2000, I became ill with ulcerative colitis and underwent emergency surgery to save my life just a year later. Two more chronic, debilitating illnesses followed: Ankylosing Spondylitis and Fibromyalgia. I lost everything – my relationship, my career, and my independence. For two years, while at my most vulnerable, I was also the victim of domestic abuse. My world had fallen apart, and things would never be the same again.

In 2005 I started on anti-TNF therapy, and things got a little better. I flew to Las Vegas for a rockabilly weekender, fell in love with an American guitarist so poor he didn’t even own cutlery, almost married him and moved to a Florida trailer park. A few months later I came to my senses and married someone else instead – a talented, handsome and ridiculously intelligent French guitarist – in a crazy, whirlwind romance.

I am in pain every day, struggling to do basic tasks which most of us take for granted. While my AS pain is manageble, to some degree, the pain I experience with fibromyalgia and the subsequent depression and fatigue is not. I wrote my memoir, ‘Mostly Cloudy, with Some Bright Spells’ to raise awareness of invisible, chronic conditions. It is a story of courage, determination, acceptance, love and hope, and is told with brutal honesty.

I self-published as not one literary agent understood the concept of not getting better. They all wanted a happy ending, but with chronic illness, there isn’t one. There is no cure, no light at the end of the tunnel. You just have to get on with it. The happy ending is that despite what I go through on a daily basis, I’m still here.

‘Mostly Cloudy With Some Bright Spells’ (http://amzn.to/SSAozw) is available as an eBook on Amazon. You don’t need a Kindle to read it – you can download a free Kindle app for your iPad, iPhone, PC, Android phone or Mac. I also write a blog at http://www.juliettewills.wordpress.com


17 Responses to “A.S. Face 0698: Juliette Wills”

  1. Dear Juliette,
    Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. I can’t wait to read your book.
    Sincerely Cookie

  2. Thank you for sharing. Loved ‘Fright Night’ and will keep reading your blog:)

  3. Welcome to the family Juliette!

  4. Thanks for sharing your story, Juliette. I will definitely read your book…

  5. Welcome Juliette !!! #480, Stephanie

  6. Welcome Juliette.
    Thank you for sharing your life with us. I look forward to reading your book. I am still pretty new to all of this myself. Maybe your book will be of some help for me to understand (if there is such a thing) and come to terms with AS.

    #0686 – Joel

  7. Thank you for sharing your story, Juliette.
    Life has its own twists and turns. We can’t stop it. So enjoy 🙂

  8. I loved reading your book and your humor is inspiring. I am pleased to meet you via faces of A.S.

  9. Thanks for the nice comments 🙂

  10. Thank you for your comments, folks. I hope the book helps. Judging by the reviews (47 five star ones on Amazon.co.uk!) it does help people a lot. Not just us, but friends/family of sufferers get a picture of what it’s like to live with chronic pain.

  11. Hello Juliette – I’ve read your book Mostly Cloudy with Some Bright Spells, I loved the brutal honesty you shared on those pages – thank you – very well done! I’ve walked with pretty severe AS for over 35 years and also nearly died due to colon complications – not to the depths of troubles that you have had, but I’ve been through a lot of the same things. My mother’s AS story is one of heroic proportions and set the bar for me to follow.

    I found your love of Rockabilly music and the chapter headings wonderful, I had to find every song on Youtube as I read the chapters, I did find all the songs, but had one or two I had to settle for another artist’s version. I love F1 racing and can understand deeply how hard leaving that special world must have been. I was very athletic and a motorcycle (club level) road racer until AS took it from me.

    Remicade gave me my life back in 2001 and now I am trying to make up for the lost decades…fully fused, but very active and truly one of the very lucky ones. As a side note I grew up about 30 miles from where Eddie Cochran was born 🙂 I am face # 103, my mother is face #102 – ever since I’ve read your book about a year ago I’ve wanted to reach out to say how much I admire you and share my own story with you – on my face story here, there is a link to my “Hope and Apples” story – I would be honored if you where to read my and my mothers Hope and Apples story. Peace/Love Jim

  12. Wow!thank you for sharing! The title reminds me of what one of my brothers would say, when asked how he was doing, he would sometimes reply, “Mostly cloudy with a chance of sun”. Thank you for sharing

  13. Juliette, thanks for sharing your story with us. I have read your book, “Mostly Cloudy with some Bright Spells”. How well I could relate to so many things you have experienced. I was diagnosed at 32; this year I will be celebrating my 60th birthday. Unbelievable, right? Although I have never experienced domestic abuse, I was right there with you as I read about the intestinal atrocities, loss of career, depression and the reality that this disease is for life. To be more accurate, I suppose I should say diseases…AS, Crohn’s, Fibromyalgia and PsA.

    Your book is very relatable, and I’m glad you chose to publish it despite being rejected by publishing houses. As you say, your write with brutal honesty. That being said, you also temper that ragged edge of truth with humor and tremendous courage. Thank you for the book, and thank you for joining us as…a Face of Ankylosing Spondylitis. Tyler 🙂

  14. Just started reading your book today and wanted to let you know that it’s helping me to try to come to terms with my AS and everything that goes along with it. I’m 43 and fed up with feeling poorly. Although I am on quite a downer at the moment trying to get over viral meningitis ( not good to catch while on anti TNF’s!!)
    Anyway, just to say thank you for the book.

  15. Hi, juliette, have just finished reading your book.
    what an amazing little brave lady you are and so inspiring to all fellow sufferers of all these debilitating illnesses.
    Your book is a funny, entertaining never boring or skipping pages book I loved it for the sheer joy of you finally finding love and happiness after your heartbreaking past experiences.
    Its also a book of survival in so many ways but your 100% a born survivor.
    cant wait for book two!!
    Good luck in all you do
    jo wright..

  16. Juliette, I just finished your book today. I love your writing style and I do think you had a happy ending (despite what editors told you).
    I too have AS and understand the pain and the whole invisible disease thing. But your take on life really motivated me to be my best self. Thank you for sharing your story. You made me laugh out loud so many times! My husband will be glad I won’t be reading it tonight because of my cracking up every few minutes!

  17. I remember reading Juliette as a sparky, funny and interesting sports journalist with Total Football and wish her the very best of luck in her fight with AS and Fibro.

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