A.S. Face 1390: Jessica

Face 1390

1390

My name is Jessica, I am 26 years old, I live in Southern New Jersey and I have AS.  I have experienced pain for as long as I can remember.  I come from a military background so maintaining a “no pain no gain” mentality has always been our way.  After going to many specialists at the age of 15 and on, I was told to “grin and bare it”.  I thought my parents were right…no answer must mean that I am being weak.  So I did just that, I put hat fake smile on and tried to pull myself through life.  After getting engaged and wanting to join the military myself, I started with an intense work out routine and told myself that I couldn’t take it easy b/c basic training wouldn’t be easy on me.  My body quickly gave out on me, and back to the specialists I went.  The doctors kept shifting me from DR. to DR. when finally, after 3 years, one had said my fingers look rather arthritic and I should see a Rheumotologist.  And just like that, after some testing I am finally told a name to my imprisoner; AS.  It is unbelievable what those simple letters meant to me.  I finally had an answer.  I also found out that the AS was able to attack my body after contracting a bacterial infection in my stomach at the age of 12 that landed me in the hospital for quite some time…  I haven’t been weak, but STRONG!  And now, after looking at how I tried to keep my pain hidden from those around me for so long, I now want to stand proud of who I am.  And honestly, without the support of the other courageous “faces of AS”, I would not have the strength to stand up right now and shout “MY NAME IS JESSICA, AND I HAVE AS!!!”   Thank all of you for lending a hand when I needed it most.
New Jersey, United States of America

5 Responses to “A.S. Face 1390: Jessica”

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

  2. Hi Jessica. I’m so glad that you found Faces of A.S., & with it many new friends from around the world, who will be here to support you. I’m so sorry that you had to suffer so long without a diagnosis, sadly, it’s all too common with A.S.. You have found an incredibly wonderful place here to share your story. To me, Faces is a family, a safe place, where we can tell our stories without any fear of being misunderstood, or anyone doubting our strength, our pride or our ability to inspire & help others, & never having to hide our pain or our true feelings. Cookie is like a sister to me, she inspires me every single day. Faces means so much to all of us who have found the courage to share our stories here, & found strength & a connection to so many people & their stories. Thank you for sharing your story, Jessica, I know it will inspire many others to share theirs.
    Stand tall & stay strong,
    Lisa xx

  3. Words simply can not capture my true emotion. I sit here trying to explain my gratitude and the longer I sit in silence to try and find the right words, the more I recall parts of everyone else’s story and my gratitude just grows and grows. Although I now know where my pain and struggles have come from, I never really accepted it until I sat down to write my own story. It was like a sweet release of emotion I didn’t even realize I had bottled up. I now can stand tall and stay strong because of everyone’s kind and supportive words. THANK YOU!!

    • I am so glad that you were able to get that release from sharing your story, that was how it was for me. Freeing, I found by me being able to share my story, I no longer felt the need to “carry” it with me anymore. Thank you so much! Sincerely Cookie

    • Hi Jessica. Sometimes, there aren’t any words to express all of the intense emotions that flood our minds when we do something so powerful. It truly can be a life changing experience. We never really get an opportunity to tell our stories to anyone, we may tell bits & pieces here & there, & talk to our doctors, but nothing at all like we can here, openly & honestly, without any judgment or fear, to free ourselves without even realizing it. Just knowing that we are not alone & there all of these amazing people who understand, care & inspire us & are here for us for our triumphs & our struggles. It warms my heart & makes me smile, knowing what a deeply profound & positive experience it has been for you to share your story here with us. I see each person & their story as a gift that I cherish. There is a beautiful quote I want to share with you by Brené Brown,
      “Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we will ever do.”
      Thank you, Jessica, for being so brave, & for your gift to all of us. – Lisa xx

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