A.S. Face 1414: Emily Rose
My name is Emily Rose. I was diagnosed with AS when I was 12, about a month after one of my older brothers was diagnosed. I was in terrible amounts of pain on a daily basis, and my mom kept calling it growing pains. Finally, while getting a checkup for something else, I asked my doctor about it. She decided to run some tests because of my brother’s diagnosis, and lo and behold, I was blessed with AS too.
I had no idea what to do with myself at that point. We had discovered that there are no pediatric rheumatologists in our area, so my brother and I were stuck with Tylenol. That was fine for him, but it wasn’t enough for me. Not being very athletic, I turned to theater to help my joints. It was sometimes all the movement my body could handle.
Over the years, I’ve gone back and forth between actively fighting my AS and letting it control me. I have, however, found solace in the music of the beautiful Rachel Taylor of He Is We. So many of her songs are about strength and self love, and as a fellow survivor of AS, her encouragement and example is a powerful example of what every one of is capable of knowing: it is not our disease that defines us, but rather how we define our disease. There is no need to search for strength, only the need to realize you’ve had it all along.
God bless all who read this, stay positive and keep moving!