My name is DeAnna Holman and I am 44 years old. I am a teacher by trade, but right now I am a dedicated stay-at-home mom with three terrific kids. I do free-lance writing, editing, and graphic arts (print ads and magazine layouts). I also volunteer in the community and at the elementary school when I am able.
I try to live with this invisible disability called Ankylosing Spondylitis the best I can and manage all of the Dr visits, PT, etc. My Dr.s keep changing the diagnosis to AS with RA or AS without RA. etc. I have been through the usual diagnostic hoops for six years and it continues. It really does not matter what they call it, it is all just initials to me to describe my chronic pain and personal hell…but I just try to keep smiling and laughing on the outside and it helps me get by. Humor is my saving grace.
I am currently trying to get in better shape because I have been in this vicious cycle of pain, not exercising, and being hard on myself and it has caused me to get out of shape. I need to get stronger. Being a mom, I put everyone else first, even on my worst AS days. I need to get as healthy as possible so I can live a longer life! I also have to get rid of the high cholesterol, high triglycerides and type 2 diabetes and keep myself out of a wheelchair due to the AS. I’m a mess, but I have to have hope.
People say, to go for it and why haven’t I done it so far? I just have not been good at coping with the pain of this disease and I am trying not to take pain medicines. People really do not understand this disease at all. A conversation I had recently showed this to me loud and clear. I explained how I have this disease and explained how it has been hard and that it has contributed to making me out of shape. The person I was talking with said, “Big deal.”He said “It could be worse.” My walls went up and I just wanted to get out of there. Sure, I could be dead, but really? Oh the torture of this disease seems to be the worst kept secret. One cannot understand unless inflicted with the disease. Hopefully, sharing my story will help get the word out.
Each day I am so thankful to wake up and I realize all that I have: I am blessed. I have dreams and goals for myself and I am so happy each day that I get to work on those dreams. My ultimate goal is to beat the odds, go against my Dr’s advice, and one day run (or sort of run) a 5K. I want to get the word out about this disease and show others that people with the disease are still strong! I must have hope to push through.
Chico, California United States of America