Hi, my name is Christina and this is my NSD success story.
I am now 34 years old and live in London. I was born and raised in Austria until I decided to move to England when I was 24.
My AS started when I was 17-18. After 1 year of pain from my lower back over my buttocks into my legs I decided to see a doctor. No result. Then flare ups started. I would get a lot of pain in my lower back, sometimes I could not walk, I could not sleep, or would wake up in the middle of the night because of the pain. I had all the usual symptoms. Unbelievably I went through this time of most of my major flare-ups without any painkillers. I just had no idea pain killers existed. I tried to see yet another doctor during a particular bad episode. I was diagnosed with a kidney infection. Which resulted in me spending two weeks in bed (which is probably responsible for my quite immobile very lower back), a lot of antibiotics and an Ultra scan of my kidneys. Which showed that my kidneys were in perfect health, but that something was wrong with my sacroiliac joints. At that point I knew I was not imagining things and half a year later finally found a specialist (thanks god for the Austrian health system!) who finally diagnosed my AS. Again a very typical story. I was given a prescription for Voltarol, send to an exercise class and told that I would probably be disabled with a fused spine by 40 and no, there was nothing that could be done. By that time I was 24 and somewhat depressed.
Luckily by then I did not have too many major flare-ups and only took medication and painkillers occasionally, however, there was always pain. When I was 30 I suddenly had a really bad flare up. This time (and for the first time) my neck area was affected. I went through two weeks of absolutely excruciating pain, bad side effects with meds, meds not working etc. Hell. That was the first time I started checking out the Internet regarding AS thinking there must be something else. By that time I was on 24h slow release Voltarol and I did not like the idea that my life was regulated by medication. I was very lucky and found the KickAS site and info regarding the no starch diet very quickly. I decided to give it a try straight away, as I had nothing to lose. Until then my diet was really starch heavy (being a student I had not much money and pasta, potatoes and similar were cheap and filling).
I stopped the medication the day I started with the diet to see if it would work. After a couple of days the pain levels dropped considerably. As most people I was very strict at the beginning. After a while I would eat starchy food when I felt I couldn’t resist. But I would always get pain. If I only had a little starch (particularly flour) I would feel it in the neck, prolonged binging would affect my lower back and hips. Temptation and a very odd feeling of deprivation are still very difficult for me to deal with. And now I have a new battle at my hands: Iritis. This started in October 2005 and made me come back to the KickASforum. And now I have realised how much more there is to learn and that I could feel even better!
Overall I can say that my diet really keeps my AS in check. I don’t feel it has progressed much since I’ve started with the diet. I see my rheumatologist (who does not believe in the diet but tells to me to continue if it makes me happy…) once a year. Last time I saw her assistant and she was amazed how mobile I still was. I am pretty sure this is down to the diet.
Yes, it is hard. No doubt about that and I am fighting against the little devil in my ear every day (one little biscuit is ok…) but I know I must be very careful, especially now that I am starting to get Iritis too.
I would say to everyone with AS, at least give it a try! Carol Sinclair’s book is great and the AS diet primer or also called the London AS diet food list really helps to get started.
Hope I can inspire you to get started!
My goal is now to be even better to myself, find fantastic new recipes and learn more about supplements. And keeping in contact with KickAS!