My name is Jordan Helmer. I was born and raised in Stillwater, Minnesota. I recently started medical school the University of Minnesota in the class of 2024! Nowadays, I spend most of my time studying. However, I enjoy watching movies, golfing, playing board games and spending time with friends and family during my limited free time.
My AS Journey: I was plagued in my early teens with chronic hip and lower back pain, as well as a bad bout of iritis. My pain began to compromise my ability to do what I loved: play sports and be active. As the years went on, the pain metastasized into my middle back, shoulders and knees. It was then that I decided to try to find an answer for my mysterious pain. Whether it was my pediatrician, chiropractor or physical therapist, no one was able to pinpoint what was going on. Confused and frustrated, I gave up on my search.
I endured chronic pain and frustration until the fall of 2017, when I stumbled upon a vlog of a man sharing his recent ankylosing spondylitis diagnosis. It suddenly dawned on me that I had all of the symptoms this man was describing. I scheduled an appointment with a rheumatologist the next day and in May of 2018, was diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis.
Nowadays, I am managing my symptoms with an NSAID, eating healthy and regular exercise such as weight lifting, running, playing sports and yoga.
My vision for the support group is to be informational, but also supportive and understanding because no one should have to fight spondylitis alone. In addition, I hope to spread awareness about this disease, so that children, young adults and adults are able to be diagnosed earlier before serious complications arise.
I hope to see you at our next meeting!