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Ankylosing spondylitis, it’s not a competition!

Ankylosing spondylitis is not a competition – seems pretty simple, right? It is is a cruel condition. An invisible disease. If you read this, you probably live with it and endure it in your individual way. There is no one piece of advice that can apply to everyone, as everyone has different tolerances, and everyone’s condition develops in different ways. However, we all need to do the most we can to try and keep healthy.

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Diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis. Journey to accepting myself again.

When I was diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis five years ago, I was far from accepting it. All I wanted was to be ‘normal’. At first, I kept the diagnosis to myself as I struggled to come to terms with it, let alone admitting it out loud. I felt that people around me already don’t understand my pain and limitations. I believed they were unlikely to understand the diagnosis as well.

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My experience with work placements and spondyloarthritis

During my degree I’ve had completed a number of work placements for my physiotherapy course in a variety of settings, all while living with spondyloarthritis. While some of these were quite light work, others took a lot of effort and communication with my educators proved to be crucial.

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The backstage of looking healthy: acting with ankylosing spondylitis

“How much dancing will there be in this show..?” That’s one of the first questions that goes through my head when I’m looking for a new acting job. And no, not just because my version of dancing isn’t unlike a toddler’s on a day of high sugar intake. It’s because when you’ve got ankylosing spondylitis, dancing for hours straight day after day is not the easiest and the most fun you’re going to have.

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My experience with studying and spondyloarthritis

Studying with spondyloarthritis can prove to be challenging in so many ways, however there are some tricks that can make it a little bit easier. I’ve spent my entire time at Uni balancing a social life, uni work and my arthritis – or maybe “juggling” would be a better term for it. 

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The Intimacy Puzzle

Intimacy and sex are both subjects that often do not get enough attention in the AS or the disability community. I remember feeling overwhelmed and shy, not knowing who I could ask about these subjects as my specialist or family practitioner would say to me that “I will eventually figure it out” or “if you are in too much pain then you shouldn’t be intimate.” I have to say I was a bit shocked by the response and the unwillingness to even discuss how AS would affect my relationships, intimacy and intercourse. 

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Things to keep in mind when travelling with ankylosing spondylitis.

Travelling is one of these great things that always leave you with a desire to see more, but with ankylosing spondylitis it can be a bit of a challenge. However, you just have to be a little bit clever about planning your travels, and figuring out what works for you. I am fortunate enough to have travelled a lot since being diagnosed. I am certainly not an authority, but I will share some tips and tricks that I have learnt along the way.

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