OK, here goes. First of all I want to thank you Cookie, Karly and if there is anyone else I want to thank them for all of the work and effort you put into this site.
I was born in Bournemouth, on the south coast of England in 1954 , I have 2 older brothers, one born in 1948 ( who we will call C ) suffers with mild forms of RA, the other born in 1946 (who we will call B ) at 68 is as healthy as he was at 28.
B , and I have always been closer, I started my working life, out of school at age 16, working with him as a commis chef in a 3 ☆ hotel. That was only for about 8 months though, but man I was earning big money, 3 times as much as many of my contemporaries. But the hotel hours would have killed me, so then I went on to other things.
I have worked as a tailor, an electronics engineer on small boats, an insurance salesman, a milkman and that took me to the age of 27.
As a milkman I had afternoons to myself, my brother B, had started his own company in 1981, and I used to finish my rounds get home have a shower, put on a suit and go out selling jewellery display and pricing systems and all manner of sundry items that jewellery stores use, and it also lent itself to gift shops, perfumeries etc, etc, etc,
Pamela and I married in 1974 at age 20 , and set up home in a rented property , and in 1979 our first daughter was born, Nicola, just after Nicola arrived, I was out on my round, and I was getting crippling stomach pains, a customer rang my depot, who came out and got me, took me home, and Pamela, called the Dr’s. He had no idea what it was and I was sent to the hospital for tests, nothing conclusive there either. A week later , a specialist Dr came to my house, a Saturday afternoon, he examined me, said nothing much to me, then rang the hospital , arranged a room an ambulance and at 4pm I was in Poole General Hospital, tests for this that and the other. I had been in for 2 weeks and it was decided that a ‘ laparotomy ‘ be carried out. Again , nothing untoward, except they removed my appendix, although that was not causing my problems. I then managed to get an infection in the wound which went septic. Great. I was in hospital for just over 7 weeks in total. And nothing really to show for it, except some really bad scar tissue, which still hurts today.
So, moving on I had already had back problems, which I always put down to lugging crates of milk around for the previous 4 years ,for which I used to take pain killers and get on with it. Two years later in 81 our second daughter Michelle arrived. And to complete our family David was born in1983
But in 1982 , B asked if I would like a full time position with the company as a sales rep. I jumped at it , and 32 years on, I still work with B, now in the office and selling via the phone and website.
In 1985 we moved our family from Bournemouth 125 miles to Warwick , right in the centre of the UK, because I was spending more time at the office than at home. By 1987 I was getting really severe back problems, I had 3 bouts of Iritis in 2 years and in 1988 was very lucky to be seen by a Dr at my local GPs surgery who had been going to lectures about AS at Warwick Hospital given by a very respected Consultant in this field. She recognised the features of AS straight away and sent me for special blood tests ( HLA B27 pos ) and bone scans cat scans MRI scans, I was prodded poked in some very uncomfortable places. BUT FINALLY TOLD I HAD …ANKYLOSING SPONDYLITIS. yeeeeee ! !
That’s me really, you don’t need to know I have flare ups and suffer with a lot of pain and all of the rest of the baggage that goes with it.
Except to say, I have a wonderful family around me, 2 beautiful grandchildren, with twins due in late April or early May.
I have got the best group of friends anyone could ever wish for, who all know about the AS, several of them have actually researched it and probably know more than me.
And a brother / boss who also understands AS and never complains nor moans about the amount of time I have off, due to flare ups.
And I also have another family/friends group that I have not told you about yet. They are someone who, if I am unwell and want to rant and rave will never shut me up. They all, each and everyone of them have AS in different stages with differing stories to tell.
I would tell you there name’s, but there are so many but Their Faces of AS will forever be with me. And I can’t thank them enough for what they all mean to me.
England, United Kingdom