I’m now moving into the last twelve months of my own AS story, and, well, what a twelve months. As I said a couple of posts ago my prescription for anti- TNF opened broad new horizon’s for me and so I got another job, which I started in the beginning of June 2012. Which was fabulous and exciting, but also included a journey to work of more than one hour, which is not good for an AS person, so I really needed to keep some reins on myself and not overdo it. Which is much easier said than done when you are working as most employers these days expect blood out of stone and the work was pressuring me to constantly overdo it.
The next thing that happened to me in the last 12 months was something very amazing, which I’ve spoken about before, in that after so many years of writing fiction as a) just plain escapism from pain and life and b) to hopefully give up work and be able to work at home, and not pressure my poor old body into getting into work and obeying the 9-5/7/8/9 rules, was I got offered a publishing contract in August 2012. Amazing. Excitement. Excitement 😀
But the two things above meant I was spending more and more time sitting, and less and less time moving. The worst thing for AS, of course. So where I had been exercising daily, I ended up exercising weekly, or fortnightly, or not at all. When I went to see the consultant in the autumn, the results were fairly obvious. I had got stiffer. I’d lost a ton (a little exaggeration) of movement again. I’ll be honest I was worried that a couple of the vertebrae in spin had actually sealed because the movement in my back was so much less. So the consultant recommended another course of physiotherapy in hospital, and my husband and I recommended a change of life style. We both decided it would be best if we moved house and cut my travelling down.
But he still worked in the town we lived close to and he starts work at seven am, so we couldn’t move far. He said – bless him – no you’re the priority let’s just make life easier for you so you’re well. But it would have been cruel to make him drive the hour back when he started work at seven. So we put our house on the market, and did all the things people say you should do, making it look all pretty, and started hunting for houses midway between the town he works in and the city I work in.
Ten weeks later in the poor house market, we hadn’t had any bites on our house, and it has taken years for us to sell houses before, but I couldn’t keep up with the travelling, it had really started taking its toll. Week in week out. So we went to see a financial adviser. One of my friends had rented her house out and then rented another house so she could move. So we went to explore options. Well, we were lucky, we had another option. Our mortgage was nearly paid off which gave us enough equity in our house to buy somewhere else and then rent the old house out. Of course that did mean taking the risk of then having a massive mortgage again. But choices, choices, healthier life verse a bit of risk.
We found a much smaller house which would be easier to keep with my AS as well, and went for it. We applied for a mortgage on the new house and our old house, and split the equity from the old house between the two. The things you do for AS. What that’s taught me is I am not a risk taker. The mental anguish and fear I’ve gone through over making that decision. We have still not sold our old house and someone is renting it, but I would so rather be rid of it, even though it’s making a profit, I just hate having a massive mortgage weighing over me, because you just never know what might happen next…. And of course all this anxiety was making my muscles tense up and my AS worse, and me stiffer, so I lost even more movement…
This 12 months of my life will be continued…
AS is my burden, writing is my escape.
And if you are looking for the best help to improve your Ankylosing Spondylitis then for me it was the AS course at the Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases in Bath, UK. This hospital is now threatened with closure, if you wish to sign the petition to keep this hospital open, please click here. It changed my life (You can attend as a private patient or on the NHS). And if you would like more information on AS take a look at National Ankylosing Spondylitis Society, NASS, website.