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Regarding Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS)
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A brief history of my AS



give it any thought at the time. It wasn't a problem. I had no other indications that something was up all my years growing up.

It wasn't until around 1980 that I first had a strong hint that something was up. It hit me hard and out of the blue. I played guitar a lot back then (I still play when I can!) and was in a trio called "Smith, Jones, and Brown," with my friends George and Richard. George had a home recording studio and I vividly remember to this day getting off a stool when we were recording and feeling a searing pain shoot down my leg. I thought, "What the hell?!" I had never felt anything like that before. It was a temporary thing but I sure never forgot it.

Up to that time, I had no indication that something like that would happen. I would occasionally have a pain like that afterwards for a year or so. I never went to the doctor, of

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course. It gradually got bad enough though that I did decide to check it out. It was when I found it difficult to get out of bed that made me decide to see a doctor. I went to my primary doctor first, who then recommended my seeing a rheumatologist. After many tests, I was diagnosed with AS, though at that time the indicators weren't as decisive as they are now. I was treated with NSAID prescriptions and told to stay active; there was no cure. I had full movement of neck and prescribed. I tolerated the disease's pain and discomfort (as well as the pills' way of making me feel bad too), which really didn't get that bad. Getting out of bed and other normal functions were no longer a problem. It was really no big deal for many years.

My AS progressed substantially during the 1990s. It could have been the steady onset of the disease, or the sedentary lifestyle I undertook when I went back to school full time. I feel though that it was both, not to


mention a relatively high level of stress that accompanied those years. School has never been a regret in any way, but I do recall all those hours of sitting while reading, writing and typing, or whatever. I wonder if that inactivity really made the progression that much worse.

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