Kris, 41, Michigan
-Symptoms started in my neck and shoulder blades at age 18
– Diagnosed at age 40 after many misdiagnoses
– Enjoyed a 5 year remission after I went gluten and dairy free
– Severe pain developed in my low back and SIJ after the birth of my son. (I also had a horrible time with my epidural, which I understand can happen with ASers.)
– Currently managing pain with NSAIDs; Doctor wants to start me on Enbrel to get my inflammation under control.
The battle I wage against this disease is for my beautiful son. I fight so he can have a mom who is as present (and playful) as possible, rather than one who is buried under the weight of pain and fatigue. I also wage this war for possibilities: the chance that my son could possibly have this disease, that his children someday could… And I want better treatments, diagnosis processes, and hopefully even a cure before the disease ever has a chance to hurt them personally.
About me: I smile. A lot. Whether it’s a high pain day or a particularly comfortable day. This is one reason why most people will never come close to understanding how very much this disease challenges me. The other reason is that so few people have heard of Ankylosing Spondylitis… what it is or how it can affect a person. It’s kind of amazing to me how many websites describe it in such mild terms, yet when I read real accounts from others who have AS, the disease seems to be so much more intense and all encompassing than what those general descriptions state. My own experience agrees more with the anecdotal accounts rather than professional health care websites.
I’m hoping for another remission… one that lasts. 🙂 But my goal that I work toward is actually mostly about my attitude. I want to make the most of each day and not let the pain or discomfort of this disease rob me of a life well lived.
So, in the words of my 3 year old son, “Let’s rock and roll!”
Here’s to a day well lived, AS friends!
Michigan, United States of America