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A Very Long Journey

In 1962, at the age of 22, I first began having trouble. It began with my legs and feet. At that time, they did not have a name for AS and I was treated for every disease imaginable. It wasn’t until 1999 that a Rheumatologist diagnosed my ankylosing spondylitis.

Pain and mobility

Do the math, I am now 81. My neck and halfway down my back is fused. They want to fuse my lower spine because that would help my hip and leg pain. The tradeoff is that I would lose even more mobility, so I decided not to have the procedure. I have lost enough mobility already.

I use a cane as well as a walker. My pain is constant, especially in my cervical, and I suffer from constant headaches. I’m beginning acupuncture next week for my headaches and hope for at least some relief.

Keep on truckin'

I’ve tried everything, including physical therapy and pain management. Nothing has helped to any degree. I admit depression has set in, but I have no plans to give up or give in—life goes on. I am an author and I still write every day. That keeps me going. I am also a very lucky man to be married to a woman (59 years now) who understands AS and is very helpful to me.

I tell my story for those who are young and are afflicted with AS. No matter what, don’t let this disease rob you of your life. Keep trucking on.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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