I have always been stiff and (in my mind anyway) uncoordinated. But I have a cheerful attitude and always wake up smiling. My nicknames have always been along the lines of Sunshine, or Energizer Bunny.

After years of dealing with a very stiff body, at age 55, my back and Achilles’ tendons hurt so much, I could barely walk. I went to doctor after doctor trying to figure out what was wrong. I do not have the HLA-B27 gene, and am not a young male, so the doctors were stumped. Finally at the end of 2016, I went to the Mayo Clinic. They looked at my MRIs and said it was pretty easy to see that I had AS. At least now the thing that made me so miserable had a name, and was something that I could fight.

The journey has been challenging. The fatigue that we all know so well caused depression, which is something I’ve never experienced. Friends and family don’t know what to think or how to react. But life marches forward. Now I accept that energy is a finite resource, and I just have to learn to balance things. Having the AS support groups has been a lifesaver! Hearing other people’s stories helps us realize that we are not alone. The picture attached is me on a Pink Jeep Tour in Sedona, AZ, my happy place. 😀

Minnesota, United States of America

One Response to “Deanna”

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

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