A.S. Face 1714: Kimberly Troyan
My name is Kimberly Troyan. I am 42 yrs. old & live in Ontario Canada. I have Ankylosing Spondylitis. This is my story.
Rewind to the old me 7 years ago. Wow do I ever miss her. I was so energetic & physically
active at the gym & somehow fit yoga in too! Love to hit the dance floor! Always on the go from the moment my eyes opened well into the late evening. Love children. Avid concert goer . Busy Mom to 4 incredible children. Was the owner/operator of a very successful private home daycare. Yadda yadda yadda…
Then one day just before my 36th birthday I suffered from vertigo so bad I could hardly stand. I was experiencing neck & shoulder pain. My lower back joints were causing discomfort worse than the 9 month pregnancy mark. Then fatigue took over. This was unfortunately becoming my new normal. From Dr.’s to Specialists & test after test … No one could give a straight answer or diagnosis to what was happening.
I ended up having to close my daycare. This was extremely devastating to me. I honestly thought I would have this dream job for years to come. Little did I know the pain I was in was just a little glimpse into what would eventually rear its ugly self.
After almost a year of seeking an answer I fell into a dark place. This place took me hard & fast. I did whatever I could to follow my body’s cry to lessen the joint pain , vertigo & fatigue. Yoga , Bowen Therapy, a natural diet & staying as active as I possibly could. These were all self taught ways of coping. Having been called a “hypochondriac “from a few people that were close to me I shut down & didn’t express my daily pain mainly since I felt unheard by professionals & a few others in my life. I eventually took some control over the next 4-5 years & managed little by little some of my symptoms. The SI joint pain started to get worse by the day. Deep down I knew I needed to scream for help. Something. A direction to ease this horrific joint pain.
Then after years of reading , investigating & eventually working 3 days a week in the medical field I demanded specific tests be done via lab work , x-rays & MRI. Well truth be know I was immediately referred to a Rheumatologist who within the first two visits gave me a full Ankylosis Spondylitis diagnoses & treatments commenced.
How bittersweet. An answer after 6 long years. My Rheumy was so careful with his words. Explaining everything to me in terms that I could comprehend. I was terrified yet thankful for having a name & the start of understanding this chronic disease that most certainly was getting in the way of my life & the way I envisioned it to be.
June 18, 2015 was the day of my official diagnosis. Since then I’ve been on a biologic injection to help slow down the fusing of my spine, medical cannabis to ease the daily pain & anti-inflammatories. I have an amazing specialist , counsellor & physio therapist that keep me focused. I have some good days, some bad, the odd flare , times I’m bed ridden & days I can’t walk. I have a handicapped parking pass to use if I really need it. I make sure I’m open to my family on how I’m feeling & where the pain level is at each day. How much help I’ll need to ensure things run as smooth as possible. Each day is a new day. This disease will not define me.
I openly advocate & spread awareness to family & friends on how Ankylosing Spondylitis affects us as patients. They will understand better by sharing crucial information in hopes of one day finding a cure. To all us AS Warriors💜