Ankylosing Spondylitis and Future Generations

  Today I received a call from my son's school nurse. My son wasn't running a temperature, but he felt dizzy, light headed, and nauseous. My oldest son went to the school and brought his brother home. As soon as he came in the door, I sent him to his bed. I tucked him in the bed and asked if he needed anything. He went to sleep quickly. I checked on him a few times. He looked so peaceful sleeping.

  This incident made me think about all of my children's futures. I pray they never have to face Ankylosing Spondylitis or any of the other illnesses that affect me daily. If you are a mother, you know how I feel. I would suffer any disease if it meant my children didn't have to experience it.

  My daughter has already been diagnosed with Raynaud's Syndrome. I don't think she takes the disease very seriously. I constantly remind her to wear socks or appropriate shoes to protect her toes. She does take better care of her hands thankfully. She wears gloves when it's cold outside. She has already had two surgery on both of her knees. She was in high school when her knees started locking up or giving out from under her. She had one knee surgery during her sophomore summer break and the other knee the next summer. At this time she is 25 years old and has arthritis in both knees. She goes through periods of extreme pain. I hope she doesn't need replacements for many years.

  My oldest son also has knee issues. It was recommended, when he was 17 years old, to have the same surgery his sister had. However, after seeing what his sister went through and the pain she has now, he refused to have the surgery. I didn't push him to have the surgery since he was adamant against it. He was diagnosed with Dyspraxia when he was in middle school. Due to the dyspraxia he has always been slow moving. He has never been able to fully participate in sports. He has an unusual gait and flat feet. He has chronic back pain. He began with back pain when he was a young boy. He was treated with physical therapy, TENS Unit, heating pads, and pain medication. I often wonder if his chronic back pain is the beginning of ankylosing spondylitis.

  My youngest son is very thin and tall. He is the only one of my children who has no knee problems. He doesn't complain with back pain either. He experienced a lot of acid reflux when he was a young child. From the age of 4 until about 10 years old he was prescribed medication for the acid reflux. He also has battled eczema from birth through his whole life. His eczema has been so bad that he has lost fingernails where effected. We try to be diligent to keep him away from soaps, sanitizers, etc that make his eczema worse.

  My children are the most precious gifts I have. I would feel terrible if I passed on my diseases to them. If they do end up with AS, I hope I can be a support system for them. I hope I will be knowledgeable enough to help them. I hope research and medications will be far advanced before they might face AS.

  In closing, I encourage you to spread awareness of our disease. I hope if you are financially able, you will donate to ankylosing spondylitis research. Do these things not only for our futures, but for the futures of our children and generations to come.

  Gentle hugs friends. May it be a pain free week.