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My Transformation

I battled chronic Sciatica pain since I was about 26 with the pain in my lower back began as early as I can remember back in high school. Back in July of 2010 I began having pain and blurred vision in my left eye. After seeing an Optometrists and attempting to relieve the pain for about a week with a steady dose of steroids. Keeping my eye dilated for that long was very uncomfortable but with no relief I was immediately sent to an Ophthalmologist.

There I was diagnosed with Iritis, a form of Uveitis, which is a swelling and irritation of the Iris. I was sent back to a GP to begin with the blood tests to find the source of this eye inflammation; a virus, fungus, parasite or worse a form of arthritis and not a very friendly one.
What we found to be the culprit was a rare gene named HLA-B27 linked to a majority of the 100’s of forms of arthritis. Now seeing a rheumatologist and running more to test to find out what form of arthritis I may have and the source of my chronic pain the results all pointed to Spondylitis. (pronounced spon-d-lie-tiss). It is the name given to a group of chronic or long lasting diseases also called Spondyloarthritis (SpA), (spon-dyl-oh-arthritis) or Spondyloarthropathy (spon-d-low-are-throp-ah-thee). This group of diseases primarily affects the spine (spondylo) and other joints. The group includes: Ankylosing Spondylitis, reactive arthritis (formerly Reiter’s syndrome), psoriatic arthritis, enteropathic arthritis (spondylitis/arthritis associated with inflammatory bowel disease), and undifferentiated SpA.

Ankylosing spondylitis (pronounced ank-kih-low-sing spon-dill-eye-tiss) or AS was the culprit which is a form of arthritis that primarily affects the spine, although other joints may become involved. What we found in my individual case is a bit more severe and has caused chronic, severe pain and stiffness in the back, spine and peripheral joints, as well as lack of spinal mobility because of chronic inflammation, typically any joint pain I may feel may be linked to my AS, the rheumatologist advised me.
“When I wrote this originally, the fingers on my left hand are cold and numb”.

Beachbody Summit White Party 2013

In 2011, my BFP was over 30%, I weighed over 200 lbs, was on high blood pressure medication, smoked and drank every day, took depression medication and I struggled every day with the side effects of my AS. Its just 2 years later, and I find myself sitting with some of the most inspiring coaches of Team Beachbody at the event of the year.

There are common symptoms such as frequent pain and stiffness in the lower back and buttocks, which comes on gradually over the course of a few weeks or months. Over the course of months or years, the stiffness and pain can spread up the spine and into the neck. Pain and tenderness spreading to the ribs, shoulder blades, hips, thighs and heels is possible as well. Note: that AS can present differently at onset in women than in men. Quoting Dr. Elaine Adams, “Women often present in a little more atypical fashion so it’s even harder to make the diagnoses in women.” For example, anecdotally we have heard from women with AS who have stated that their symptoms started in the neck rather than in the lower back.

You can find out more information here.

http://www.spondylitis.org/about/as.aspx
In my case I will be taking a biologic medication called Humira and will also begin alternative treatments that will help improve the way I feel each and every day.

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