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My Sport Saved My Back By Ronelle Strydomon Ankylosing Spondylitis

I started with back pain years and years ago. High school,I think. At some stage it was in my hip, shooting down my leg etc. We did not have medical aid, so I just bared with it. And later when I could afford going to doctors, they never did any further research, they thought it was stress. 3 years ago I got a bad kidney infection and got hospitalized. Not sure if this is related? 2 years ago I had a bad rib infection.

Not sure if this is related either? All the while in between I would have back pain and got tired quickly. I thought I was being a big baby and lazy, because I couldn’t even clean house without taking rests every half an hour or hour. My self-esteem was shattered. A year ago I got inflammation in my right eye. a GP could not fix it and I went to an eye specialist. He gave me eye drops that cleared up the eye.

Not even a month later, it started again. So much so that the pupil’s shape changed. So I went back to the eye specialist again. He gave me eye drops again and decided, as a precaution, to end me for an HLA B27 blood test, which came back positive. So I was referred to a rheumatologist. After a lot of tests, she saw that my Sacroiliac joints are fused. So… the back pain was not all in my head after all. I was put on Methotrexate and Arcoxia and slowly weened off the eye drops so that the Methotrexate could take over the job. All went well, except of course for the occasional back pain issue.

Now, 5 months down the line, after diagnosis and starting Methotrexate treatment, I got Uveitis again. So I am on eye drops again and wearing an eye patch like a pirate. Arrr! And my Methotrexate dose has been pushed up as well. I cry a lot. I exercise as much as possible to prevent further fusion. To tell you the truth, my sport probably saved my back from further possible fusion up to now. It is painful to exercise. But for a brief period of time after training, I don’t have back pain and I have a feeling of relieve. And then I wake up the next day and do it all over again.

At least now I know I am not lazy and my pain are quite real. I have also lost all my friends because of AS, #MDD and #Anxiety, because they don’t understand why I don’t have energy for social gatherings and why I constantly struggle with MDD and Anxiety and negativity. After all, the media tells everyone to surround themselves with positive people, not negative people. They got tired of hearing me complaining and getting so depressed that I can’t help myself. I withdrew from the few friends that I have left, for fear of rejection and being a birdon.

At times I want to give up on this life of constant struggle as I have Anxiety and Major Depressive Disorder as well. So, I can’t help wondering if I had MDD before or after AS started. I’ve had back pain all my life and pretty much MDD too. And what about my Anxiety? Not sure either. But all I can do is take it one day at time,push through the pain and try my best to do what I love. And try to find happiness in being by myself and doing stuff alone. Other times…I feel blessed that I don’t have it as bad as others. I can still do sport and I still have mobility in most of my back. And I am learning to cope with having less energy than others. I am grateful to the eye-specialist though. If he wasn’t so vigilant, I may to this day still have thought that I am a big baby, that I am lazy, that I don’t have energy because I do everything wrong.


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