Before I was diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis I was extremely active. I worked out six times a week – I went to the gym, ran, kayaked, etc. One day while running I started to have hip pain. Thinking that it was just another injury I tried to nurse it and go easy but the pain continued. I ultimately went to my doctor and got some inflammatory medication. It still took months for the pain to decrease. While I was dealing with my hip, the fatigue started to set in. I thought it was just seasonal allergies but the fatigue got so bad that I would spend hours on the couch.
Fast-forward a year – After multiple doctors and tests, I found myself visiting a rheumatologist. In one visit he was pretty sure what the diagnosis would be but ran more tests to be sure. All the tests came back negative so my doctor would have to base my diagnosis on my symptoms and his experience.
My diagnosis came in January 2018, the same month as my triplet boys were born. Here I was battling a debilitating disease, diet changes, determining which medications would work for me and now I’m welcoming the birth of three more children – did I mention they have an older sister who wasn’t even two when they were born?
I continue to push forward. Still battling with fatigue, diet, and medications….and diapers! I try to stay active – light exercises a few times a week and I still occasionally do the activity that I love the most – whitewater kayaking.
I wanted to start a group because of the lack of groups here in CT. Sometimes it feels as though I’m the only person with the disease and I would imagine others feel the same way. My goal is to bring those with spondylitis together and form a network for people to stay connected. I plan to have a variety of meetings types: roundtable, specific topics, and, hopefully, guest speakers. Topics will depend on the wants and needs of the group.
Troy lives in central Connecticut with his wife and four children. His full-time job is a stay-at-home dad but he also works part-time teaching geology courses at a university in CT.