A.S. Face 0903: Helena

Face 903In 2002 I was a young adventurous woman exploring Europe and having a blast. I was in Austria and decided to go cliff jumping. Despite my fear I jumped from a 12 meter cliff, landing on my side. I had instant pain in my ribs and back. I eventually went to the doctor, but they said everything seemed ok. However, I was never the same again. I had back pain from that day forward. In 2008 I started working in my chosen field as an X-ray and MRI technologist and my right knee just kept swelling for no apparent reason. It wasn’t too bad, just kindof annoying. I went to a Sports med Dr. who referred me to a Rheumatologist. He said that I had “Palindromic Arthritis” A few years went by and I met my now husband. On our honeymoon my knee started swelling again; this time it was different. It swelled so bad that it was rock hard and very agonizing. I went back to the Rheumatologist and this time I also complained about my constant back and rib pain. She changed my diagnosis to AS after seeing sacroilitis on an MRI. I am now taking Humira to control the swelling and also take Cymbalta, for depression and pain. I also have Interstitial Cystitis, which is a chronic bladder disease where the lining of my bladder doesn’t regenerate properly. Usually if its not my back bothering me, its my bladder. I am still working mostly full time. I use my experience with chronic illness as a way to connect with my X-ray and MRI patients. No one can understand what chronic illness is like until you have lived it yourself. In the future I think I would like to become a yoga teacher so that I can help others even more. It will help me to make sense of it all, because I truly do not understand why stuff like this happens. I am blessed to have my husband who is an amazing support and I also have a fur baby named Sophie, who is the second love of my life.

British Columbia, Canada

2 Responses to “A.S. Face 0903: Helena”

  1. Dear Helena,
    Thank you so much for sharing your story with us.
    Sincerely Cookie

  2. Helena,
    You are an inspiring force in the world and I admire your voice and the courage with which you not only face but open for discussion the trials of living with so much pain. Thanks for bringing so much joy into our life.

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