Last updated: May 2023
Jessica is a writer, artist, wife, academic, dog-mom, and outdoor enthusiast who is learning more each and every day about life with chronic illnesses.
She now lives with and manages multiple chronic illnesses, including Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS), Endometriosis, and Psoriasis. While Jessica has lived with Endometriosis since her late teens, in 2016 she was diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis and in 2021 with Psoriasis. While Endometriosis and Ankylosing Spondylitis are invisible illnesses, Plaque Psoriasis is highly visible and that visibility comes with a unique set of challenges. All three conditions are well managed through a variety of treatments including surgery, biologics, topical ointments, OTC anti-inflammatories, and consistent exercise.
In 2019, Jessica began her blog BackCountry Chronic to talk about daily challenges with her disease and how chronic illness has redefined what it means to be an ‘outdoor enthusiast’ for her. Though Jessica may not be able to summit a mountain or set out on a long backpacking adventure, she still gets out into the wilderness to hike as often as possible, knowing that plans may change in an instant because of chronic pain and fatigue. Jessica shares photos of her outdoor adventures with AS on her Instagram: @backcountry_chronic.
Jessica, originally from Massachusetts, now resides in Colorado with her wife and two dogs. When she’s not writing, she’s working as a University Administrator or teaching University writing courses. She has also shared her AS story, in the form of a video diary, with Healthline.
Life with chronic illnesses is unpredictable, at best, though Jessica believes that a key way to cope with life with a chronic illness is to find a community to share experiences, to connect with, and to learn from.
Click here to read all of Jessica’s articles on AxialSpondyloarthritis.net.