Dianne (Aiello) Gardner

Face 1874

I was diagnosed with AS at the age of 44 and at the point of almost complete disability. Until that time I had maintained a job, and lived a normal hectic life of work/kids/housework. I had been having symptoms since I was 13 or so, but despite intermittent complaints to my primary doctor, I was repeatedly told nothing was wrong. After diagnosis I made a brief improvement on my first TNF inhibitor, but it was very short-lived. I relapsed into an even worse condition at that point. I had worked through pain (often severe)for a very long time, so it never occurred to me that the pain would get so bad that I would not be able to work. I loved my job and was at the high point of my career. I would never be foolish or wimpy enough to succumb to my symptoms and lose all my financial stability. Boy, was I wrong.
AS took from me a career that I truly loved, was successful at and which allowed me to support my family with a certain degree of comfort.
I now live day by day, often minute by minute. I have many things to be grateful for, including my 2 children and a large extended family. Remaining positive and keeping a stable roof over our heads is my main goal. I try not to think too far into the future and try really hard to find small ways to help others. I continue to struggle with indescribable pain in almost all joints/muscles of my body. My limitations create a terrible lack of self worth, which leads to depression. So I continue to fight both the physical and emotional battles of this disease. The things that get me by are my kids, my partner, my pets, support groups, good friends, good family and of course my faith. If I could ask one thing of the healthy community, it would be not to judge another’s pain or circumstances. People live with things they can’t comprehend themselves; don’t force them to try to make you understand just to gain your compassion.
Love, peace and understanding to all.

Massachusetts, United States of America

One Response to “Dianne (Aiello) Gardner”

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

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