Keith Savage

My name is Keith Savage, 32 years old from Hawthorne, NJ. I’ve been married to my best friend Kim, for over 10 years & we have 3 beautiful kids together; Trevor (9), Kailyn (7) & Charlotte (2).

I have been extremely hesitant to write about my story because I have no desire to relive or dig too deep into how I feel. I know it may sound odd but my day consists of hiding & or suppressing my feelings with laughter so I do not have to face my fears or worries. I’m a comedian, not an actual paid stand up comic, but I love to make people laugh. Like my first picture where I’m dressed like a fool (Cousin Eddie from Christmas Vacation) to make as many people laugh at a party as possible. That is my escape, my distraction to what our reality of having AS gives us everyday.

I was diagnosed back in 2007 with symptoms dating back to at least 2000. It started with horrific pain in my heels, it felt like I was standing on rail road ties all day long. Then my hips and spine & so on & so forth. Thing is I’m no stranger to AS & the horrible effects it has to not only the diagnosed but our families as well. If you look at my second picture it’s my father Kevin & myself. He came home from work (delivering propane tanks) on my 5th Birthday & never worked again.

My father eventually had his spine fuse solid & endured excruciating pain everyday of his life until 1/25/09. That was my wife Kim’s birthday & also the day my father was no longer in pain. He died from cancer unexpectedly & only 3 days after being diagnosed. He was & still is my hero. To grow up seeing someone you love, admire, & try you’re hardest to emulate deal with so much pain everyday was so hard. I knew how hard it was on my mother, taking care of my dad everyday & myself & older brother while providing for the family.

When I first felt the pain in my heels & back I was afraid to go to the doctor. In the back of my mind I had always feared that I would end up with AS. My fears were correct & I found myself in a whole new world. I was crushed by the diagnosis but determined to not let it slow me down. I succeeded for 4 years until March of 2011. It was all too much on me & my family. I stopped working & have been on disability since.

I’ve tried the entire range of medications & combo of medications that the medical world has to offer us. Nothing. Not one drug or combination of drug has worked. My spine is fusing so quickly that every doctor I have been too agrees that it is too late to stop or even slow the process. As of now my lower spine is fused, my neck is beginning to fuse & my middle back has 4-5 discs remaining that are 90% eroded. So now I see my rheumatologist every 2 1/2 to 4 weeks in order to get injections as close as possible to my lower spine & neck to try & numb the area & make the fusing less painful. It has it’s advantages & at this point I just feel like a pincushion but it does yield some relief.

See picture #4 from my last visit. So with all of this said I know my progression is much more aggressive & rapid then most. I have fusion beginning in my extremities as well but not at the same rate as my spine. 3 weeks ago I ruptured tendons in my wrist due to the meds & AS destroying all connective tissues as well.  So at this point the only way to live is day by day.

My wife & best friend Kim deserves the biggest, best, award a person can get. Most days, 5-6 a week, Kim has to help get me out of bed, in & out of the bathroom, & get dressed. Essentially she has 4 people to take care of on her own between myself & our 3 kids. I can’t explain what she means to me, she does all of this without any hesitation at all & I couldn’t imagine being in her shoes. In a way to me this disease is harder on her than me. I just sit back & deal with pain, she is constantly going from early morning to late night without any time to herself.

Thank you just doesn’t say enough. So I keep on rocking everyday due to my wife & 3 kids. (picture #3) I’m not sure what the future holds but what I do know is because of the support system I have at home with my wife as my biggest supporter & the online support system I have from Jennifer, Kelly, & Cookie I have so many great resources & friends. Words can’t express how thankful I am to have everyone on my side. Laughter is how I get by, is so much easier to laugh with others than cry alone. Keith Savage=

Hawthorne New Jersey United States of America

One Response to “Keith Savage”

  1. Dear Keith,
    Thank you so much for sharing your story. Thank you for reminding us to fine humor and laughter in our lives, most of all for reminding us how special our loved ones are for standing by our sides. You are most welcome believe me it has been my honor to do this and has been so amazing to be a part of. It has brought peace and contentment in my life.
    You were right… it was a face worth the wait…. I know the struggles it takes to do this and the places it sometimes takes us. That is why I ended up being Face 62.
    Sincerely Cookie

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