Spread The Word: Educate Others About AS

Educate by Jake RustOne of my favorite things to do to relax is to have a massage. No matter how stressful or exciting my day is, I can always relax during a one-hour Swedish or hot stone massage and they really help lower my pain level. I try to get one monthly, but this does not always happen.
Yesterday, before my massage, the therapist asked me if there were any particular areas I would like to work on. I couldn’t help but laugh…I mean, come on, with A.S. everything hurts, right?
As usual, I told her I have chronic pain just about everywhere, but mainly in my spine and hips. As she got to work on my back, she was surprised at the amount of inflammation she could feel in such a young, healthy-appearing woman. She asked me if I had been in a car accident or something to trigger all of the inflammation. I explained to her that I have A.S., and gave her a brief overview of the disease.
I take great pride in being able to educate others about this rare, debilitating disease many people have never heard of. She was very interested and asked me quite a few questions about the cause, progression, and treatment of A.S. When I mentioned I have a long family history of autoimmune disease, she told me, to my surprise, that she has several immediate family members who also have autoimmune diseases. Some of these family members are taking the same medications that I am taking. It felt good to be able to relate to someone and provide information about my disease.
It is important for those of us who have A.S. to be informed about our disease, not only for our sake, but to be able to teach others about it. Awareness leads to research which leads to better treatments and (someday) a cure! So the next time you are getting a massage or someone notices your A.S. Awareness t-shirt, take the opportunity to help others become more educated about A.S.
Together, we can fight this!

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