My name is Peter Lonsdale, 46 years old, from Yorkshire, England, now living in Abu Dhabi. Married (3rd Time) with 4 daughters. I finally got diagnosed with AS earlier this year, after spending the past 20 years suffering with back and joint pain and being told to do many different things by many different doctors, all to no avail. When I first started suffering, it was in the early nineties, and my wife at the time used to joke that I was like John Cleese in the ministry of silly walks. Most of my troubles were lower back, and I put it down to spending a lot of time in a car travelling and also sitting on a hard floor, as I could not afford at settee at the time. Seeing a Chiropractor helped an awful lot at the time.
Time went on, and being a bloke we tend to ignore pain and soldier on, which I did. Roll on the early noughties, and saw another Rheumy, who said I had some inflammation markers, in my blood and prescribed Arcoxia. Apart from that, he said to exercise.
I started to link my flare ups. with stress at work. When I got a call to see my boss for a review or something, started to get a stiff neck , pretty much straight away. So I took up Yoga, and this was a massive help, as it taught me to relax.
In 2007, I moved to Abu Dhabi to start a new job and new life.
Things settled down for a few months, but I kept getting stiff necks, and I put this down to the AC. went to see a Chinese therapist and she used acupuncture and cupping. This helped, but she said she was unable to help any further.
Finally in early 2011, after many years of trying we had twin girls. Jubilation and stress come hand in hand with twins. So I started to have a lengthy period of flare ups. Visited a Chiropractor, who was a charlatan…and ripped me off and said it was all in my head. Finally found a Chiropractor who knew something about Bamboo spine, as he called it. And he helped me an awful lot, through a prolonged flare up period. But by this time, my upper neck has fused, and I did nothing about it, before it was too late. Then went to see an Orthopedic surgeon, who said I need my hips replaced and that I might have AS. As with any clinic here, it is a business, due to everything being paid for by the company you work for. So went to another Dr, a Rheumy this time. Lots of blood tests, Xrays and MRIs scan followed and she confirmed I had AS, but her bedside manner was a little brusque for me. Finally happened upon a Dr at a new hospital in Abu Dhabi, who took one look at me and said you have AS. She checked the Xrays, MRI’s and blood tests and confirmed this, even though I am HLA-B7 negative. She thankfully is a bit of an expert on AS, and lectures GP’s about this disease and how to recognise it. Was told to take Arcoxia and Enebrel, this was 4 months ago, but I am taking Arcoxia, and have been pain free, but still stiff. I am holding off the Enebrel, as I am a little bit apprehensive about this, due to the young daughters I have and the amount of colds they are picking up from play school etc. I still do my Yoga, and I think this has helped me keep pain free for some time now, and lessened the stiffness in my spine. Started swimming again the other day with my daughters. I think being an older dad to my daughters has pushed me to get a diagnosis and to do something about the disease, and every time I look at them it pushes me on the make sure that I keep as upright and fir as possible for them.