My name is Jayson Sacco and I was diagnosed with Anklyosing Spondilitis when I was about 14 (in 1984). Not much was known and for many years before this I lived with what was “growing pains”. There were days as a kid when the hips/legs just wouldn’t work, back aches that no amount of aspirin could alleviate and family that just thought I was being lazy and not wanting to do things or work around the house. The pain got worse as I got older and the medications I was on just didn’t do much. By age 21 I had my first total hip replacement on my left hip and at 23 I had a total hip replacement on my right hip. This helped, but the back was still a constant source of pain. As I got older I started getting occasional attacks of iritis and when that wasn’t bothering me it was vertigo attacks that would lay me up for days. Through this all I became very self-reliant, not wanting anyone to pity me or feel that I was limited. Psychologically this disease takes its toll on you…leaving you feeling like less of a person, not able to do simple things without experiencing pain that would curl a non-afflicated person up into a ball. For the first 20+ years I was diagnosed with AS I had never meet anyone else with it. No one that could relate to what I was going through. Through the internet I have now meet people who are going through the same situations, and though I have not meet any of them I know I am not alone and reading the others stories is comforting.
Two years ago after 18 years my left hip wore out so it was time to have a revision done. I went into the hospital in July of 2009 to have the surgery done. While at home the first week from the hospital I just didn’t feel right, the hip didn’t feel right and my biggest fear came to..I had to have the hip done again. So in August, four weeks after the left hip was done it was done again. This was tough and I am still healing. Two-plus years later and I am on a cane, but the words posted on the thefacesofanklyosingspondilitis.com have rung true……When something bad happens you have three choices. You can either let it define you. Let it destroy you, or you can let it strengthen you! I have chosen to let it strengthen me, there are people in this world that are in far worse situations than me and as long as I can fight, I will! I have AS, it doesn’t have me!
At age 41, my mind tells me that I am about 20 while my body tells me I am in no shape to do what I want…but like many of you this doesn’t stop me, I just adapt and fight on. Though many people I encounter will never understand the trials I go through with AS, all of you with it understand and that is a bond that we all share. Stay strong and define AS, don’t let it define you!
San Antonio, Texas United States of America