Each individual affected by spondylitis has their own unique story. We at SAA believe that each and every story can be a source of inspiration and empowerment. We’d love your story as well! Send it to us at Programs@spondylitis.org
By Tom Neal
By the year 2000 I was noticeably “bent over” in my upper thoracic and cervical spine. The local, well-regarded neurosurgeon said he could “straighten me up?”, but the mortality rate was approximately 50%. His last words to me as I left the office were, “Don’t fall, either forward or backward. Either way can break your neck.”
By Michael Leach
At the time I received my diagnosis, I was on the brink of my twentieth birthday. I was a healthy and fit young man, just starting my college basketball career, looking forward to a long life of adventures ahead. With two words, my rheumatologist flipped my world upside down.
By Kathleen Barth
Ankylosing Spondylitis What the heck is that? I can’t even say it. (Pronounced ank-kih-low-sing spon-dill-eye-tiss)
By Roz Tolliver
By James Magdaleno
We all have a Bully in our lives, whether it be a physical person or in the form of pain or anguish, but we all have one. Since childhood my Bully has taken on many forms and I have overcome them one way or the other, but my current Bully is relentless and today I am going to share him with you. See, my Bully does not come in a form of a person but a condition. I have Spondyloarthritis.
By Jessica Baird
The long road to being diagnosed took a toll on my mental health, even though I have not been officially diagnosed with any mental health issues. The effects of being misdiagnosed and being told I have cancer at the young age of 28, left long lasting effects on me mentally, only to be told after that I have a degenerative disease.
By Phil Donlay
By Spondylitis Association of America
As I looked around the room watching the other beginner “Yogis” doing the relatively easy movements and positions that I was struggling so hard to do, I noticed a significant difference between myself and others who physically looked just like me before the start of the class. Ankylosing spondylitis is commonly called “an invisible disease,” but today this disease finally became very visible to me.
Ankylosing Spondylitis brings change, and most of it is bad, or really bad, depending on your point of view. I’m not describing physical pain, as we all know far too well what that’s all about. What I’m talking about is psychological injury - the kind that injures your spirit.
One Friday evening, a day like any other, I fixed a salad for dinner, watched television, and then went to bed to read. I eventually switched off the light, rolled on my side and a sudden pain erupted in the left side of my chest.
By Donnie Hogan
Donald Ray Hogan, aka Donnie, is a fellow patient of ankylosing spondylitis. What most don't know is Donnie is Anna Nicole Smith’s younger brother (they are half siblings on their father’s side.)
By Lydia Harris
The first time I felt a flare up was after a softball game, in which I lost complete function of my right arm.
By Theresa Silva
I was finally diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis in 2010 when I was in my late forties. By then, my back pain had become my constant companion, I had six cases of Iritis, and I was starting to experience joint pain in other areas of my body. The diagnosis was a shock. I finally had an answer. But now what? How was this disease going to impact my life, and my career?
By Reevu Neogi
I remember the first time I experienced the effects of Spondylitis, it was the year of 2011 and I was 17 years old at the time. I was at a sports event at my school, when suddenly I felt my legs go numb and I could not run anymore. I had to stop immediately and rush home.
All of your stories are inspirational in their own way. Here is an abbreviated version of my story. I hope that my story will help educate and inspire someone.
By Carrie Kellenberger
I never expected to lose my mobility, but that is what happened in July of 2014 when my body gave out on me and I could no longer move the way I used to. Year by year, I lost my energy to move and soon enough, I had an ME/CFS (myalgic encephalomyelitis / chronic fatigue syndrome) diagnosis that severely limited my mobility and left me housebound.
By Mike Lindsay
I was walking between classes in school one day when all of a sudden I felt extreme pain in my hip and couldn’t walk any further. I’d been very healthy up to this point, a school sprinter in fact. What I didn’t realise in that moment was my life was about to change permanently and a whole lot of pain was ahead.
By Kristen Shields
Hello, my name is Kristen and I’m 31. I’ve debated for a long time about a sharing my story because I wondered how I was going to tell it? Who would relate? Would anyone benefit from hearing my story? I found the Spondylitis Association of America on Facebook and became inspired to share my story after reading so many others’.
By Candace Jackson
The pain and stiffness of this disease, and the severity of my other conditions (I also have Ulcerative Colitis, fibromyalgia, and severe Gastroparesis) have prevented me from continuing to work in my dream vocation as a hospital chaplain
By Yaakov Lewi
My name is Yaakov Aharon Lewi which is Hebrew for Jacob Aaron Levi. I am 42 years of age. Not only does my name have a religious meaning but it's a family legacy going back thousands of years. I'm a native Texan, born in Waco. I am Jewish by faith and Hebrew by blood.
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