My name is Serita Singh and I am a 21 year old post graduate law student at the University of Witwatersrand!
I was diagnosed with AS when I was around 18 years old but had already been experiencing the symptoms since I was about 14! I blamed my lumbar pain on so many things over the years- from a pinched nerve to strain caused by sports extra murals during high school. I tried almost every treatment under the sun; acupuncture, physiotherapy, chiropractors, electrotherapy and even homoeopaths! Sometimes I would walk out feeling like I’d been cured completely and other times I’d walk out in tears from all the pain (chiropractors are a definite no no for me!)
In 2010 I remember not being able to fall asleep one night because the pain was so severe, I tried getting out of bed at 2am to tell my parents that I’d be unable to get through school that day but I couldn’t even manage the walk from my bed to my bedroom door. I broke down that night, I sobbed uncontrollably because I felt so helpless. To be so young and unable to do something as basic as walking! After wet pillows and some strong pain killers I decided enough was enough, something needed to be done!
I got tested and diagnosed after my final year of high school and before my first year of study at university! Finally I was headed in the right direction!
The reason my story is a bittersweet one is because of my mother. My mom suffers from AS too, but of the upper vertebrae unlike me and has already lost most of the mobility in her neck, back and shoulders. She was diagnosed not long after I was born and has been in incredible pain ever since. We have the same Doctor who recommended that the both of us start a course of Humira as soon as the necessary tests had been done and approved. Humira is extremely expensive though and our medical aid would be heavily burdened paying for two prescriptions so my mom gave up her application so that I could be covered for it completely! It is because of her love and sacrifice that I can say I’ve been living pain free for the last year now. I inject myself every two weeks and all symptoms of AS disappear- like magic! Although I feel like a brand new person it breaks my heart seeing my mom in so much pain and I would give anything to see her healed but sometimes a mother’s love in all its splendour is just too stubborn- she won’t give up on me having the quality of life she wasn’t able to have! I have no pain at all while she takes tons of meds to lessen hers: bittersweet!
I’m happy to report that the last time I cried because of my AS was happy tears and only because I was able to run again! Walking without pain felt incredible but I had all but given up on being able to run again so when I did, the tears ran too! Since being on Humira I’ve been able to lose 10kg’s because I can exersise more, I can walk from campus to campus without being in pain, I can get out more because I’m not restricted and I haven’t taken a single pain killer in forever!
My next goals are to graduate again with an LLB in 2015 and to send my AS into remission. I’d love to be able to donate blood again-
Everything will be okay in the end! If it’s not okay, it’s not the end!
South Africa, Africa