My name is Cheryl and I’ve been diagnosed with AS for 15 years, but undiagnosed for AT LEAST another 15.
I have never known much abut my disease until I found the support groups on Facebook.
I am a mom of grown sons and have gained 100lbs as I’ve become less and less mobile while taking more and more drugs and steroids. I’ve used a scooter to walk distances for the past 6 years.
This disease has attempted to beat me down, taking all the things I loved away. I used to walk 3-miles each evening for exercise. Now I walk 20 feet. I used to be a social person who loved to be out in crowds, shopping, partying, and dancing. I cannot comfortab ly perform those things these days. My 4 acre yard had new flower beds and varieties of plants every year. I used to read books ravenously, but vascular problems in my right temple caused me to suffer an optic nerve stroke. I have a blind spot that allows only a slight amount of reading, in increments.
Today, I started PT and tomorrow will be getting my first epidural, hoping to walk without pain. I went to college when my sons were grown and obtaine4d a MS in Psychology. I graduated Magna cum laude, now I no longer work and will begin to get SSDI in July.
The pictures above are from various times in my life. I take these pictures everytime I meet a new Dr. I want them to be able to see “me”, not some overweight person caused by AS and its treatment and difficulties. Although I greatly grieved my losses, I have learned ways to compensate. We still travel, dine out and socialize(in a smaller group) and I try to garden.
Thank you for your time, Cheryl Keith
This is the Cheryl of today.
Pennsylvania, United States of America