Living with arthritis- Madie's Story

Hi, my name is Madie, I’m 18 years old and this is my living with arthritis story.

At the age of about 10, I would continually fall down as my left knee would give way frequently. My parents took me to see a physician who diagnosed me with a mild hip dysplasia. I was given multiple exercises to correct and align my hips and knees. As time went on my problem worsened, I started getting pain in my left and right hip joint. One night I couldn't move from my waist down, I couldn't sit or roll over without experiencing excruciating pain- almost like trillions of electric shocks that jerk about uncontrollably. This went away after a week. It came back, went away, came back, and went away. We were clueless.

At the age of 12 I had a feeling this was more than a "mild hip dysplasia”. I went to my GP whom only wanted to operate. As I was only young, the word "operation" scared me. So we sought a second opinion.

At the age of 13 my condition worsened, I was starting high school and was active in numerous sports such as gymnastics and hockey. The pain grew and began to radiate from my hip joints, along my spine, and knees. I began having slight breathing problems, which I know now as Costochondritis. 

In 2015 at the age of 17, I finally got a referral to see a Rheumatologist who then diagnosed me after many MRI and CT scans with Ankylosing Spondylitis - an inflammatory spinal arthritis.
With help from good physiotherapists, specific exercises are the best preventative action along with an anti-inflammatory medication- this was a process of trial and error.

Having a chronic illness is not easy because people cannot see what is wrong. Even though pain may be present, it’s hard to not show you are in pain.
I am going to learn to live with it. I’m going to be successful with my career and accept that this is a card I have been dealt. It is up to me to learn and gather good advice from professionals who deal with this all the time.

But hey, what can you do. I'm keeping positive- this disease may have my bones and joints, but it doesn't overrule my positive mind.
I am now raising awareness about this disease, joining groups, talking to others and taking up warm yoga.

AQ would like to sincerely thank Madie for sharing her living with arthritis story with us.
If you would like to find out more information about ankylosing spondylitis, click here.