My name is Fion and I live in Singapore. I started having hip pain that came and went when I was around 26. That was 13 years ago. The pain was so severe that it was hard to walk, but sometimes it went away or changed to the other side. I thought it was some kind of sports injury because I was very physically active. But my mum was very scared it was some kind of bone cancer, so in the end just to appease her, I went to see an Ortho specialist and did an MRI. The result was that I have chronic inflammation in my sacroiliac joints and I’m also HLA-B27 positive. A textbook case of ankylosing spondylitis.
But I guess I’m slightly atypical. My inflammation is so mild that less than a week of diclofenac knocks out a flare completely. Nowadays, if the pain persists for more than a day or starts to get worse, I take one or two doses of diclofenac and I will be fine for quite a while.
All of this really makes me wonder whether I have ankylosing spondylitis… I went to see a rheumatologist every three months for the first year, once per year after that, and I haven’t been to see him for the past five years.
The flares have never exactly stopped entirely, but I can get up to six months of completely pain free living. One interesting fact is that I tend to flare when I have diarrhea or a throat infection. Living in the tropics, food spoilage occurs pretty fast. Just last week I ate something that tasted a bit off, and two hours later I started having some pain at my right rib that felt like a flare starting. I immediately ate a small tub of yogurt, and the next day I was pain-free.
This made me start to wonder if I have reactive arthritis instead of AS. Or can the disease switch? These doubts made me consult Dr. Google which lead me to the Spondylitis Association of America.
Is there anyone else whose AS behaves like mine?
I try as much as possible to eat low-carb and it seems to help with reducing the frequency as well as the severity of a flare.
Reading your stories makes me realize how lucky I am that my AS is so mild. Hope my story will help someone else as well.