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Leigh’s Story (Ankylosing Spondylitis)

Leigh's Story (AS) LRI am a mom, a wife, and I Fight Like a Girl! I was born with a congenital birth defect and spina bifida in 1962. The doctors told my mom to give me up and have another child. Fortunately, my mom would have nothing to do with that!

I finally had an experimental surgery that corrected my birth defect and was able to walk at age 4. I had a case of strep throat that morphed into rheumatic fever at age 7 followed by yearly bouts for the next 7 years.

My family never let me feel sorry for myself, nor treated me with kid gloves. I was taught at an early age to figure things out because of my limitations.

At age 16 I was diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis. I was told to exercise a lot and I would have a fighting chance. I fought for the next 34 years to be normal – and most people believe me to be normal. I rode my horse, I rode my bicycle, I help friends on their farms, I did all I could to prove I am strong and no different from anyone else.

Then, in mid-May of this year I learned that my AS had progressed to the point of fusing my sacrum and several vertebrae. My rib cage is fused to my spine and is fusing to my sternum. I am physically a wreck and I feel the pain every day.

I take several medications to control the pain and inflammation. I still exercise a lot and I can walk for miles – but oh boy the pain when I stop! I take each day as it comes. I live my life in spite of AS. I will continue to fight to remain upright and upbeat. I will continue to fight like a girl!

Leigh
Missouri
Submitted 6-15-13

The informational content of this article is intended to convey a personal experience and, because every person’s experience is unique, should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.

This story is intended to convey a personal experience and, because every person’s experience is unique, should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.

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2 comments

  1. You are an amazing woman. I have known you since we were in middle school and NEVER knew you had these health problems. You do fight like a girl and always have a smile on your face.

    • You do fight like a lady you are the most amazing person I have ever met. You have touch so many lives and you have so many friends and family fighting with you you are so loved leigh

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