My name is Nicole and I’m from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
I absolutely adore animals – my number one fix when I’m feeling down is to hang out with my pets – I have a cat called Jasmine (8yrs), a labrador called Sherlock (almost 2) and a cavalier king charles spaniel named Ruby (she’s 13). In the photo included is my dear Max, he made it to 15 and 6 months, but sadly passed in December 2013. Second to that (or while getting cuddles) movies and books are my other greatest comforts. 🙂 nothing beats a great read or an awesome movie/tv series to get your mind off things. Of course it’s important to move lots too, so sometimes I have to be on the exercise bike while watching said awesome shows.
I was diagnosed with AS at 18 (almost 19) in 2009, and my brother (then 21) subsequently got checked as he had also experienced some similar pains. He was also diagnosed shortly after.
I have had one major flare up in 2010; my right SI joint, knee and ankle all went along with it. My knee and ankle both became swollen and it made it very difficult to walk (let alone with the SI joint pain alone). That peripheral swelling lasted over 3 months. I was on prednisolone for over 8 months total as I was weened off a high dose. I am now on Humira, anti-inflammatories and methotrexate, and it has so far been working well for me. In Australia we are lucky enough to have government subsidisation, and Humira only costs AU$35.00 per 2 injections. I feel awful when I read about the costs of the same medication in the US and other countries. I have also managed to develop osteoporosis of the spine and osteopaenia in the hips.
I’m now 23 and I have completed a course in Personal Training. I am yet to work in the industry as I only just finished the course, but I hope to keep physical fitness high on my priority list for myself and future clients, to encourage healthy people to enjoy their health while they can, and to possibly help others with conditions like mine.
I am about to begin a Masters degree in Editing and Publishing – I hope I can get through it relatively flare-up free, we will see how it goes.
Thank you so much for creating the faces of AS. I love to get on and read some every now and again – it’s great to see all the different people and all their stories.
Much love to all. xx