Your Stories

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

Lydia Harris

By Lydia Harris

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

My name is Lydia Harris and I am currently 20 years old and I was diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis when I was 17 years old. The first time I felt a flare up was after a softball game, in which I lost complete function of my right arm. Thinking it was an inflamed tendon, I went to childrens' hospital, where they extracted fluid from my elbow and ran blood work. They immediately scheduled me for a rheumatologist appointment and a week later was when I was diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis. Since diagnoses, my life’s journey and path have been unknown. I dealt with so much pain the first year; I struggled walking between classes in high school, and I could not stay awake in class from the constant fatigue and exhaustion. I was young, and I did not want to listen to my body. I tried yoga, stretching, physical therapy and nothing worked. I began to see a different rheumatologist closer to home, and she did not waste any time. She put me on the highest dose of Humira and Methotrexate. It has been 2 years since then and I’ve been mostly pain free.

When I was in high school, I wanted to be a Physical Therapy Assistant, however, being diagnosed with this specific rheumatic disease, I came to the realization that I could no longer be a PTA.  Instead, I enrolled into college to pursue a career as a  Radiologic Technician. I am currently in my first semester of RAD school and I am enjoying it very much.  My plan after this two-year program is to go to Ultrasound School. I’m a full-time college student, working an 8 hour clinical shift two days a week and going to the gym twice a week, and I still come home to play outside with my dog. I am eager and excited to see where this journey takes me!


Lydia Harris

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