Hello I am Joseph Poynter from Auburn, Indiana and I have Ankylosing Spondylitis. I started to have problems starting in elementary school. I would walk with a limp and complain about pain in my hips but everyone, even doctors, said it was due to growing pains. Thought out middle school, my pain was random and it would effect either one or both of my hips as well my lower back. I thought it was due to all the sports I been playing; like football, wrestling and track. I just pushed on and dealt with the pain. My family doctor still did not understand why I was complaining of pain. Maybe they thought I just wanted attention, well that was until I got into high school. My freshman year the pain wasn’t random anymore, it was nonstop. Both my hips would hurt and I had days were I could barely move after football games and wrestling meets. My mom had enough of seeing me in pain and pushed me to go to the doctors and really find out what is wrong. After a couple x-rays and different doctors, I had blood work done to see if I had AS. If I didn’t then the doctors would open me up just see what’s really going on. After a long week of waiting, at the age of 15 I was told I had AS. I was destroyed because all the sports I been practicing, I would never be able to do again. My doctor first told me while I sat there speechless, “You can either live with it or die from it”. At first I was just angry and scared because of a disease I couldn’t even say and from those words and the pictures that doctor showed me. But now, after five years with Ankylosing Spondylitis, I now understand what he truly meant with that statement. You have the choice to either sit around and let the disease fuse your spine and take your movement away as well as the life that you want to live away or you have to take action and stay active. Stand strong and stay active because I know from experience that no one but yourself can help slow down Ankylosing Spondylitis.
Indiana, United States of America