Arthritis?! Isn’t That For Old People! Well, no – My Experience with Ankylosing Spondylitis

Hi guys, I really want to talk about something that’s quite personal to me as some of you may know and probably only really my friends and family that watch this channel I actually suffer from arthritis. Now, you may be like what?! isn’t that only for old people? Well. unfortunately not because I’m not old. At least I think I am not. To be specific I suffer from ankylosing spondylitis which is a progressive form of arthritis; like an inflammatory arthritis, it mainly affects my spine but it can affect other joints in your body and the tendons and the ligaments. To put it in kind of layman’s terms it is basically my body attacking itself but focusing on my spine and the joints in my spine. So, as a result I get an inflammatory response where the ligaments and tendons attach to the discs in my spine and with the inflammation comes wearing away of the bone, and then what happens once that inflammation kind of stops my body tries to repair the bone that was damaged and slowly over time it will build too much bone. Essentially fusing my discs together.

Now, that’s not really a definite but this is like a hypothetical where this can progress to. Obviously, this process takes a long long time. I’m not really looking at anything like that happening within the next like ten to twenty years we’re talking about like 40-50 years from now if everything goes completely wrong. So, now you may be asking how can you have arthritis and be doing all this climbing and stuff? Well, the simple answer is that because I want to. I want to do it so I do do it and you know the short of it is I do deal with a certain amount of pain, like I call it my base level. I have this base level amount of pain that I’m comfortable dealing with on a day-to-day basis and through a lot of trial and error, and a load more support from my parents, I have kind of like figured out my own personal limits of what I’m capable of.

Obviously this is a long process and for some people this may take 10-15 years to really figure out how to best maintain they’re condition, some people are lucky and figure out really early on. You know, I was diagnosed at 17 and I spent the first year kind of stuck at home pretty ill kind of wallowing in self-pity and a lot of pain and probably even more uncertainty mainly because when you’re this young this you know there are a lot of young people that suffer from this condition however anyone that knows or has had to deal with this know he’s had like half the leaflets that you get are pictures of 65 year old people or older and there really isn’t a lot of information out there for young people. Well, not as much as I think there should be in regards to what the future actually holds for for younger people.

We have different priorities we have social lives like socializing s a big part of growing up obviously like a lot of teenagers or young men young women or you know young adults essentially participate in sport or they want to travel a world or you know they want to go to university without having to worry about things and all of these are natural worries for someone has basically been in this situation and I made in my mission once I turn 18 to essentially become the best athlete that I was capable of becoming I was capable of becoming with my own limitations. Now you know since I was diagnosed to kind of look back you know I’ve run a half marathon I climb, I’ve high lined, I’ve played water polo at University, I’ve Olympic weight lifted, I’ve gone skiing loads, I’ve hiked you know did some Alpine climbing, like I really don’t feel like I’m worse off now than I was before in fact if you told me back then that I was going to be capable of doing all the things that I’ve done I probably would have told you to sod off , because they would just be obscene and obviously my parents always told me that things are going to be ok and be capable of doing the things I want to do.

However, it’s really different hearing it from your parents than it is from hearing it from people that suffer from the same condition I think, and I wish that I’d have more young people to be able to speak to in order to kind of settle my my worries essentially and you know I was really willing to try and push myself to points that no one really thought was going to be possible sometimes I still do and then injuring myself. The key is not to accept that as failure but rather learn from that and use that new kind of found information to better your or just better yourself essentially know what you’re capable of and learn your own limits and I think.

You know, I do I still have really bad days, yeah I have terrible days, I have terrible weeks. I have have days where I wake up and I just want to lie in bed crying, and it’s painful, and you’ve got to get up and you’ve got to get on with it. It’s really easy to just fall into this trap where you don’t get out and you’re just kind of wallowing more and then you just end up looking for pain as opposed to letting it just be there. You know, I think my good day is now heavily outweigh my bad days and I hope it stays that way.

If you have any questions about the condition, or how it affects me, or like how I’ve dealt with it, or if I have any advice for people, then please ask. I’m always happy to answer and I think even if you don’t suffer from the condition, and you have any questions about it, please ask as well. I think it’s really important to try and spread information around and try and get people informed about this. So, thank you very much for watching this video and I will catch you guys in the next video. Peaces my dudes..