My friends would tell you that as far as the AS goes they wouldn't know a lot about it as I just get on with things. But there is more to my 42 years of AS than the paragraph in promoting the walk....
I was being treated for conjunctivitis as a young teenager after a week of penicillin injections - to no avail as I actually had iritis. Then I was told in my twenties that if they had investigated further at the time they could have found that I had the genetic marker that was slightly more likely to get AS.
I couldn't twist or get my trailing leg high enough to clear the hurdles at school but still had to run through them. Then I had a year of excruciating pain in my left buttock and leg in my late teens, before finally being diagnosed with AS. Screaming pains at times over many years in the chest, so bad that I just didn't want to breath, walking into a doctors surgery biting my lip so that it bled rather than yelp out in pain in public. Sitting in a car for ages because I was so frightened at the time of the pain I thought I was going to suffer getting out. Being told that my body language wasn't good at meetings; I had been fidgeting to relieve stiffness. Needing to explain to people why I needed to sit at the end of a table, why I like to sit on the end of the row at a show/theatre. Not being able to play on the floor very often with the children when they were young. Trying to look relaxed when my neck has locked up. I also had 2 shoulder operations in 2011 and in between them I had to have a stent fitted!
Now aged 61 I have a slight curvature of the spine, limited rotation of the hips, a section of my spine is fused which causes pain through the ribs and difficulty with breathing sometimes, stiffness of the neck and shoulders. I have also over the years had Uveitis a number of times, needing steroid injections in the eyeball to clear. There are periods of real fatigue not helped by being woken at night with pain when asleep and turning. About 6 years ago I was put on fortnightly injections of Humira, which has dramatically reduced the number and severity of flare ups.
I have always tried to push through the pain. I am lucky in that you can count on one hand the number of days I've had off work, and for 20+ years I was a hands on engineer. Some of that could be down to having a family and mortgage to pay :) AS is one of the reasons why I changed jobs to a career in financial services.
Despite the pain, I live by ‘don't worry about things you have no control over;' I've got AS and I have to get on with it. Positive mind, positive actions gets positive results. That's why I'm going to attempt a 26.6 mile walk 20/03/16 for two charities starting at Nether Wallop then to Stockbridge, Longstock, Anna Valley, Abbotts Ann, Appleshaw, Smannell and St Mary Bourne. The furthest I've ever done is 12 miles so at 61 years of age a bit of a challenge!
It would be great if you could donate and in so doing help motivate me to train for and do this walk, and financially support two great charities. Please donate on my Virgin Money Giving page or get in touch with me if you would like to donate by other means.