The past year I have been on a journey of sorts. I have been researching and learning all that I can about Ankylosing Spondylitis. Why, because I was diagnosed with this and it is not only part of my life, but because of how I have struggled over the years it has become a passion of mine to find and help others with similar diseases.
This journey has led me to find a wonderful group of ladies that I hike with and they participated in my first ever AS Awareness hike this year on World AS Day. This will be a yearly event that in time I hope can become a fundraiser. I also hope to eventually hold 5k and other challenges to benefit AS. I will use all my experience to raise awareness and research for the Spondylitis Association of America. Which I became a member of this year as well. I have also officially signed the papers for starting My local area's first support group sponsored by the organization. This will be the first one for the state of Tennessee sponsored by SAA.
This is an exciting adventure for me and I hope that you all will share in my journey, help grow my success and raise awareness and research for Invisible Illnesses like mine. Twenty years of suffering with no diagnosis or treatment is far to long. I don't want anyone else to ever miss out on the years of life that I have. I missed out on so much because my body hurt to bad, because of clueless doctors and undiagnosed symptoms. I hated being touched, I was depressed, my social and family life suffered.
Now, I'm struggling to gain control of my symptoms even with treatment, but at least I am on a road to improving. Some days are hard, other days are harder. It's never easy, but relief lies in at least knowing that I am finally getting help. I am beyond excited to build on this future, I hope one day to be bringing about big change for others. I hope to become a big voice in the AS community. With the support of all my loving family and friends, my voice will grow.
I hope to one day see each and every one of my friends on social media sharing my journey, donating to my cause and promoting awareness for my disease! Together we can Kick Some AS!!!!