My Hidden Disease: I Have Ankylosing Spondylitis And I’m Not Alone

Dan and I were diagnosed with AS almost at the same time. When I was listening to him speak, I began to feel an immediate connection. Dan knew he had AS for almost a decade before announcing it to tens of thousands in First Direct Arena in Leeds, England on Nov. 10, 2015.

“I didn’t want the world to know for fear it would be a weakness… I don’t really know honestly why (I shared my AS on stage), but I don’t regret it,” he told me.

This statement resonated so much with me. For some reason in this world, no one is allowed to show vulnerability even if they’re ill. People with a lot of different diseases suffer in silence and feel they are alone because they think no one understands.

I have a disease that no one can see. AS can affect every joint in your body, your internal organs and your mental health. I unfortunately know people who have ended their lives. They just couldn’t take their AS struggle anymore.

People who suffer from AS tend to become family, whether they want to or not.

I am amazed at the way Dan looks at AS. He is so full of positivity and wants to be a voice for all of us that have it. I alone couldn’t think of a better spokesperson for us “AS Warriors,” as we like to call ourselves.

 

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