A.S. Face 1162: Max Fisher
My name is Max Fisher, I’m 19, and I’m from Cornwall, UK.
I’ve had back pain since I can remember, it was always brushed aside as “growing pains” or “you don’t eat properly”. As I got older it got progressively worse.
When I started secondary school (age 11-16) I started to get hip pain and stiffness when I was moving. But again, my parents brushed it off as nothing. However, by the time I was 13-14 my hip would pop and crack every time I walked, and would become more painful as I walked further. I went to the doctor who couldn’t hear the cracking when he performed designed tests, and wouldn’t let me show him how it cracks normally. I was referred to an orthopod(?) for x-rays, which showed nothing obstructive there, and I was dismissed, still not being able to show him how it actually popped.
I switched doctors when I was 16, and presented the new guys with the problem. They suggested it could be muscular, and explained that my iliotibial tendon may be too long or two short, which causes sublexations in my hip which is why the popping. I was referred to physio who advised me to strengthen the muscles in my legs and hips by wearing a low heel daily.
This helped short term, but over time, the back pain, especially in my lower back got worse and worse. As I started Sixth Form/College, I needed a walking stick to get about, and then was eventually moved onto crutches to get the weight off my hips and back. When this happened, I noticed more pain and stiffness in my neck, and went back to the doctor, who referred me for more x-rays.
The results from the x-rays lead to the preliminary diagnosis of AS, pending blood work and genetic testing. After a few months of tests, I finally got the diagnosis of AS.
Through my final year of college, I worked mostly on pain management to get through my final exams. Due to constant bullying for my sticks, I weaned myself off them after someone decided to beat me with them. I had a hair line fracture above my eye socket. Ouch. Plus, with the use of my arms I could ACTUALLY CARRY THINGS, which is always a bonus. Through a year of pain, my grades and attendance started to drop. I had to start doing 9 hour college days just to keep up.
When exam season came around, the pain was worse than it had ever been. Add stress onto that, and I think you can see where this is going. TOUGH. I sat 9 exams in total, 7 of them I needed an ice pack in with me, and 1 of them I wasn’t even fully conscious for. Finally they came to an end, and I was pretty sure I failed. Yay. But it was a miracle that I’d survived them, and sat them all, and finished them all. I was so proud of that.
A week or so after, I departed for my annual drag racing holiday at Santapod Raceway, and the pain disappeared. I was able to jump in and on some cars, go to the bar, actually walk!! It just goes to show how much stress can run you into the ground. I managed to forget about exams, and concentrate on just relaxing, and making friends.
Early August, I went on holiday to London to go see my first gig, Anbelin, for their fairwell tour, where I remained surprisingly painless. We walked around London so much more than I thought I would be able to. It ROCKED!!
On the 14th of August 2014, my A-level results came in. While it wasn’t what I had hoped for, I did amazingly. I didn’t make the grades to get into my first choice university, in fact, they laughed me off the phone. Rude. However, I did get in to my insurance choice university, Nottingham Trent. I move in this September to study pharmacology, and I couldn’t be more proud of myself, or excited!!
I hope more than anything to use this as motivation to investigate this horrible disease more, and use my degree to help relieve the symptoms more than current therapies and drugs. But I think we all know who everyone’s going to look to for their Fresher’s Hangover cure.
England, United Kingdom