A.S. Face 2121: Summer Canady

Face 2121

Hello, my name is Summer Canady. My journey has been a long and challenging one, but it’s also provided me with so many blessings. Helping people is all I have done, from a young age I was taking care of someone. I worked primarily in the medical field in a variety of areas, but mostly caring for disabled individuals, from intellectual to physical. It was a very rewarding job, that is until I started struggling to do my job.

As many know, it’s often a lengthy road reaching diagnosis. I started having symptoms at 16, I am now 37 and was diagnosed in 2016, the early part of the year. By mid year I was on biologics and thought suddenly my life was being given back to me. Boy, was I wrong. It was actually just the calm before the storm. After treatment began I had days 100% pain free. I had energy, I was sleeping all night 6 hours for the first time in 10 years. I was motivated and proud to finally be ahead of this ugly monster. To finally be acknowledged after so long of being told I was crazy.

I was an avid hiker, competed in 5ks and held a very good job. Life couldn’t have been better. Then my teenage children’s father was dying. It was like a tornado that just spawned storm after storm. He had no one but his mother and she was in shape to take care of him. I brought him home and provided his end of life care. Thankfully treatment and a good job gave me that ability. It was after this, stress was overloaded, and of course it triggered a flare in symptoms. However, that was going to become the most challenging battle I’d ever face.

I lost my job, my daughter spiraled into trouble, my relationship ended, I had family walk away from me, and my health began to decline. My AS was no longer controlled, I quickly started losing range of motion, but it was far more than just that. As the AS raged on in my body, it started causing inflammation in my lungs and my liver. It even started effecting my heart. It was a difficult journey, and far from over. I have rapidly declining lung issues, fibrosis in my liver and am waiting to hear news of what’s going on with my heart. I’m no longer able to work, and just getting dressed is a challenge.

I’m not giving up though, and that’s how it’s brought blessings into my life. I knew nothing about AS, and had millions of questions. I started looking for answers. That led me to the Spondylitis Association of America, I started the first support group in my state, Tennessee. I have met amazing people. I quickly realized how many people are so much worse off than me. I wanted to help, to do more. My dream of helping others is slowly coming to light. Giving Spoons is a project I’m trying to get started that will offer that help. In the form of care packages, assistance with financial needs, providing a listening ear, connecting people in a deeper and more personal way. I have a big dream, but I’ll get there.

I have had the great pleasure of participating in many things that will help change the future for AS. I started blogging and it’s such a healing process, I do awareness and advocacy projects of all kinds, I have helped with SAA projects, participated in surveys to update disease diagnosis and progression and I have two upcoming patient panels I’ll be involved in, I recently became a board member for Walk AS One, All of this has given me far more than I ever dreamed off. I’m incredibly blessed and it helps me get through my difficult days.

Currently I do awareness and advocacy via social media. I can be reached in any of my groups Giving Spoons or Bristol, TN Spondylitis group kick some AS or my page Giving Spoons to Kick some AS. I am also on Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat under Kick Some AS. My blog site is k.kicksomeas.com and I also use YouTube and finally my email kicksomeas@gmail.com

Tennessee, United States of America

One Response to “A.S. Face 2121: Summer Canady”

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

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