It was after a 1989 trip to Cancun and a severe case of Montezumaís Revenge that I began having recurring bouts of power diarrhea followed by horrible cramps and crippling pain in my lower back and hips, plus occasional pain in my rib cage. I sought medical help from my GP who subjected me to numerous tests and x-rays, but could never find a specific cause for my symptoms. He referred me to a Gastroenterologist who chalked up my problems to Gastritis (although at one examination he did notice some inflammation in my rib cage and a short term prescription for an anti-inflammatory helped a bit).

I was finally diagnosed in 1994 after my Ophthalmologist tipped me off that my case of acute iritis could be associated with Ankylosing Spondylitis. I was dumbfounded when he described all my symptoms! Sure enough, a blood test revealed that Iím HLA-B27 positive and x-rays showed deterioration of my Sacroiliac joints. I had very mixed feelings at the time. I was at once relieved to finally have a diagnosis, after suffering unbelievable joint pain for about 5 years, and depressed to have an incurable condition. Then when my Rheumatologist prescribed Flurbiprofen (NSAID), which relieved my excruciating joint pain for long periods of time, I was thrilled and considered flurbiprofen to be a miracle drug! Additionally, my Gastroenterologist prescribed Metronidazole (Flagyl) as a maintenance drug and Prednisone for severe flares, which further reduced my GI symptoms. For the next 10 years I was content to keep popping pills every day, which kept me relatively pain free and experiencing only occasional flares.

Then a few years ago, the flares started coming more frequently and I became impatient with my doctors and frustrated that the drugs werenít 100% effective in relieving my symptoms. I had always felt that what I ate had a lot to do with the onset of my flares but, whenever I suggested it, neither doctor would concede that my food choices could be causing them. It was by searching the Internet for AS and Diet that I came upon the KickAS website almost 2 years ago. This fantastic website and web based community offers the knowledge we all need (especially since it's mainly unavailable in the World at large). I read all the information in the "Diet Centre" and printed out the "AS Food Guide." I then took it to a Nutritionist who came highly recommended to me; one who believes that alteration of diet can help alleviate many medical conditions. She agreed to work with me to fight my AS, reviewed the AS Food Guide and made specific modifications to the no starch diet for me based upon my blood tests and profile. Hereís a synopsis of her recommendations:

>No starch diet (tailored for my specific needs)
>No dairy (from cows)
>No gluten
>No refined sugars
>Supplements: fish oil, cod liver oil, Magnesium Glycinate 400mg/day, Calcium Citrate 1g/day, Ultra Flora Plus-DF (probiotics), Carlsonís Super 2 Daily (vitamins)

I can definitely say that in less than 2 years I've made excellent progress toward living pain free with a lot less medication. So far, I've been able to reduce the amount of Flurbiprofen Iím taking by more than half, have eliminated the Metronidazole and no longer need Prednisone, as my flares are milder and less frequent. I'm convinced that with stricter adherence to my specific diet I should be able to eliminate meds altogether!!