Hello. My name is Nickie. I’m 23 years old; born and raised in the beautiful state of Vermont, and I have Ankylosing Spondylitis.
I first started noticing pain in my lower back when I was in 12th Grade (when I was 17 years of age). I didn’t think much of it until the pain became almost chronic. I’ve always been an overweight person so I thought, “Maybe I’m having back issues because I’m carrying too much weight.” So I continued to deal with the pain and every now and again I wouldn’t be able to walk because my hip joint would give out and cause horrible pain. I went to a pain specialist and he informed me that I have Degenerative Disc Disease. I guess in the back of my mind… I knew my issues weren’t just that I have DDD, so I did a lot of research online to try and see what might be going on with my back/neck.
My regular doctor sent me to a Spine clinic to see what was going on and it turned out to be Ankylosing Spondylitis. I was upset to find out that what was going on with my body couldn’t be reversed and that I would be stuck with this disease for the rest of my life. I was however very happy to finally getanswers about what was going on.
Unlike a lot of other people with A.S., I actually show signs of having the disease with the curving and hunching of my posture and spine. My knees, shoulders, neck, hips, and lungs are all affected by A.S. Since I found out that I have this auto-immune disease, I’ve been on the injectable medication called Enbrel which helps tremendously with my pain. The range of motion in my neck/back (looking up, down, and side to side) is greatly affected and makes me sad because I can no longer look up at the trees or sky while walking like I used to.
Ankylosing Spondylitis is a bummer to have to cope with… but just remember, there’s always someone else out there that’s going through the same issues as you; you’re not alone.
Vermont, United States of Amercia