A.S. Face 1425: Becca
The majority of the faces I see and the information I find relates to adults with ankylosing spondylitis. I am 14. For a long time I have suffered with hip and back pain, episodes of inflammation in my sternum causing chest pain and pain and stiffness in my other joints. My family and doctors always blamed gymnastics and cheer and my high activity level. Then a year ago the pain became severe, I would cheer a show and then be vomiting from the pain. I saw many specialists, went through testing for different cancers, MRIs and bone scans. This past January I received the news that I was positive for HLA-B27 and that I have ankylosing spondylitis. I was very depressed. It is difficult to grasp that I will have to accept this pain as a part of me, that I cannot heal as though from an injury and move on. My friends do not understand and they try to be supportive but I know I can’t really talk to them. As a teenager with this disease I feel very isolated and adrift. I am learning every day to be just a little stronger. I am learning that I can give myself the injections. I can ignore the side effects enough and the pain enough most days to do the things I love. I contemplated quitting my gym and cheer but knowing the importance of staying active and given what a huge part of my life it is I cannot simply give up. I had a urologist, gastroenterologist, cardiologist, ENT and primary doctor prior to this diagnosis all I have really done is add a rheumatologist and a few more medicines. Life is what we choose to make it. Happiness is found where you choose to seek it. I choose to make my life extraordinary, I choose to be happy, I choose to find joy in my family, my church and my faith and in my friends. I choose to avoid even the path less traveled and make my own path. I am beautiful not because of how I look but because I choose perseverance, because I choose to be strong and because I am determined to make an impact, a difference.
Alabama, United States of America