I have ankylosing spondylitis, a rheumatic condition which affects my joints and causes swelling, discomfort, pain and often with decreased mobility and flexibility for me during a flare up.
It was recommended by my rheumatologist that I should begin taking medication, Sulfasalazine. When I looked into this more, my GP stressed the side effects and how strong a medication it was and that it would be for the rest of my life. It didn't seem right for me in my mid 30s. I also had a sense of disempowerment too, having little control over my condition except to take medication. I started to feel that it was all a bit hopeless and I think this had an impact on my work and social life.
As a man, considering holistic therapy was a bit challenging at first but on contacting Andrea I realised that her approach was very different. She helped me realise that there were things that we could do and that the symptoms of my rheumatic condition might actually be managed successfully if I approached them in a different way. It took me a little while to accept that I had to start looking at committing to taking care of myself, no more manning-up or thinking I could manage if I pretended it wasn't a problem.
I've been attending appointments for around a year and a half now. I started with intensive weekly sessions and now they are usually fortnightly - if I'm having a particularly bad spell where my symptoms are flaring up, I make sure that I don't pretend they aren't there and I book in. My treatments are really positive and I've seen clear improvements, and not just in my physical symptoms. My mental outlook has changed because I feel I have some control over my condition now, which means a lot to me. I know that I have to take care of my health and actually invest in myself. It can be difficult living with a long term condition but I am much more positive about it now.
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