ankylosing spondylitis – try saying that 5 times over

You know, sometimes genetics really deal you an awesome hand. Good looks, sparkling eyes, a fast metabolism… And then sometimes, genetics deal you a pretty crap hand. Case in point, the husband.

I haven’t gone into detail about his hospital admission, because there wasn’t much to go into detail about. The doctor gave a preliminary diagnosis, which he wanted to confirm via the MRI scan. The scan was done yesterday, diagnosis was wrong. Thank God. He was initially diagnosed with CES (Cauda Equina Syndrome), and it’s a nasty bugger. As he presented with 90% of the symptoms, the neurosurgeon gave us this scary preliminary diagnosis:

Cauda equina syndrome is a rare disorder that usually is a surgical emergency. In patients with cauda equina syndrome, something compresses on the spinal nerve roots. You may need fast treatment to prevent lasting damage leading to incontinence and possibly permanent paralysis of the legs.

And so he spent another night in hospital, not actually knowing what was causing the pain and numbness in his groin and inner thighs. When the neurologist came to see him this morning, the husband mentioned that his uncle has a condition known as AS – Ankylosing Spondylitis. It’s a genetic, hereditary, degenerative disease that has no cure or treatment. The doctor ordered blood tests before discharging him, but that was merely to confirm his final diagnosis; he has AS. And the cherry on top; Alex will more than likely develop it as a young adult.

Ankylosing spondylitis is a type of arthritis that affects the spineAnkylosing spondylitis symptoms include pain and stiffness from the neck down to the lower back. The spine‘s bones (vertebrae) may grow or fuse together, resulting in a rigid spine. These changes may be mild or severe, and may lead to a stooped-over posture. Early diagnosis and treatment helps control pain and stiffness and may reduce or prevent significant deformity.

Right now however, I’m not worried about Alex. He’s happy and healthy, and shows no signs of spinal degeneration. When the time calls for it, we’ll have him tested and will take it from there. As there is no cure or real treatment, there is no point worrying about something that we cannot change or do anything constructive about at this point in time.

I’ve known the husband for 13 years this August; he has suffered from back pain since before then. The degeneration has already started; the last time he could touch his toes was about 3 years ago. He can’t now without extreme pain in his back. But he’ll be damned if he doesn’t do it.

Seriously, this man hardly ever gets sick, but when he does, he only but does it properly! He keeps saying that he’s an alien, and seeing as he’s been diagnosed with 2 totally arbitrary diseases in the last 2 years, yeah dude, I gotta go with your alien theory!

But, we’ll work through this, as a family. One day at a time. He’s still very mobile, very active, and he will not let something as ‘silly’ as a little spinal degeneration get in his way of living a full life.




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