It was February 8, 2006, my daughter Jenny's 13th birthday. My son Danny had been suffering from sciatica, limping and in terrible pain for a few days. It wasn't the first time he had sciatica. He had epidural steroid shots with a pain management doctor, Dr. S, at least 4 times that I can remember. This particular event seemed different. He came home from work and was in unbearable pain. He couldn't walk, sit, or lay down without overwhelming pain. Somehow he managed to go to dinner, as to not spoil his sister's birthday.

That night, there was no relief from the many Advil pills that he popped in his mouth, to try to control the pain. Actually, Advil had become a nightly ritual as well as an all day ritual too. He couldn't cope without it. The next day, we went to the hospital for 4 days. Saw every doctor imaginable. He was given very strong intravenous pain meds, so at least he could sit still without pain. After 4 days, over $4,000.00 of hospital bills {after insurance}, and no diagnosis, we went home.

Danny did go for another epidural steroid, but this time, the doctor gave him the shot, more for his lower back, which was where the pain had now seemed to be concentrated. He recommended he see a sports medicine doctor. So off we went to yet another doctor to see if we could get a diagnosis.

Dr T. examined Danny, and proclaimed, "I think you have Ankylosing Spondylitis". AS is an autoimmune disease for which there is no cure. Thanks doc, we might as well throw in the towel. We came home , looked up AS online, and then really got depressed. When the doctor got the blood tests and the MRI results, he confirmed his diagnosis. He told us we would be better off seeing a Rheumatologist.

With Dr. T's recommendation, we found Dr. A, a Rheumatologist. Wasn't thrilled {understatement},with the lack of personality from this "excellent doctor". Dr. A had no compassion. He was quite dismissive and slightly uninterested in Danny's condition. In a monotone voice, he told Danny that if the pain became unbearable, there were other pain medication choices, but there were very bad side effects to these medications. Otherwise, there is no other treatment. I remember the look on Danny's face. It seemed hopeless. He said to me, "Mom, I can't live with this pain." As a mother, my heart broke. The last thing a parent wants to hear is that their child has an incurable painful disease.

The only way Danny could deal with the pain the following year was to take lots and lots of Advil. He went for his check-ups with the Rheumatalogist. Same disinterested ,emotionally removed interaction with this "excellent doctor". We would ask him the same questions each visit. Is there a cure? Was there an alternative medicine? Is there a special diet? The answer was always NO, NO, NO.

Danny kept refusing the stronger pain medication out of fear of the side effects.

I became obsessed with finding information online that could help him deal with the pain from AS. My search was long and extensive. Then one day, I came across KickAS.org. This is where the clouds parted, and the sun came shinning through!

I am skeptical about forums. I wasn't sure that the information on KickAs was valid, so I read all the information available on this web site, and also read the daily discussions.

No Starch Diet? Why didn't the doctor tell us about that? I called the doctor to ask him about the No Starch Diet. He advised me against it. Even went as far as saying it was dangerous. That the diet lacked an important food group and that Danny would become deficient in many important vitamins and minerals. I continued to read on this new web site KICKAS.org. Dr. A had not offered us any hope, yet I was reading about people who were responding to this diet. And they were still healthy after years of being on this diet. So maybe there was hope?

I told Danny about the web site and the diet. He glanced at the web site, and told me there was NO WAY he would do that diet. I decided not to push the diet on him. I continued to read on and join the free forum, so that I could post our questions. I would say" Danny, I got responses to our questons, do you want to hear what the people on this site are saying?" He would always say, "Sure".Then I would read the responses to our questions, from these incredible, thoughtful, caring, and brilliant people.

Jan 23, 2009 was a very painful day for Danny. He had been suffering for about a week with neck, upper and lower back pain. He was going beyond his pain tolerance level. He said to me, " I want to try that No Starch Diet and I also want to try to eliminate dairy." Wow! He was ready and so was I. We really wanted to believe it would work.

I bought iodine to test all the food. Looked up what foods he could eat on the kickAS web site, and then, we were off and running.

After about 4 days on the diet, Danny became very angry and depressed. He said," There is nothing on this diet to eat. I can even eat in a restaurant. I won't live this way". But some inner voice kept telling him,maybe this diet might work.

No Starch, No Dairy! Lots of cooking and reading on my part. Lots of guidance from the KickAS, support, recipes, alternative medicine, and even jokes.

One week later, Danny says to me,"I THINK THIS DIET IS WORKING. MY PAIN IS WAY DOWN. THIS DIET IS NOT HARD TO FOLLOW. IF MY PAIN GOES AWAY I CAN DO THIS'. What? Did I hear correctly? Are you kidding me? You feel better? You could continue on this diet? What happened to the anger? Were we really onto something here?

The questions started to flow from us on this web site. The people on this site are extraordinary. All of our questions were answered. Although some people had different opinions on their remedies, all had respect for each other's view points. The people on KickAS are so well informed, caring and nurturing. There are many ways that people treat their AS, because not all AS sufferers have the same symptoms. We took from this site what seemed to work for us, AND IT DID! There are many alternative methods that other people have responded to. We wouldn't hesitate to try those ideas if need be.

After 5 months, the pain level had dropped from a 10 to a 3. Still had some light pain with stiffness. Continuing to be encouraged by the wonderful people on KickAS, we knew to forge on. Everyone who had success with this diet, had different time spans of when they got relief.

On this web site I also read about Apple Cider Vinegar/with mother. People reported that it was giving them relief to stiffness and pain. So once again, I approached Danny with this, too simple, idea. How about trying apple cider vinegar in water? His response once again was "NO WAY". Not surprised, I tried it myself. It seemed to immediately relieve my arthritis pain. Was this real? Was I imagining this was helping me? So I insisted that Danny try it once. I showed him that I drank it, and that it wasn't bad tasting. Once again, he thought his mother was crazy, but agreed to try it. That was the first night he slept PAIN FREE. He said, "Could it be the vinegar?". Not yet convinced, he tried it every night for a week. Same reaction. No Pain, No Advil. It seemed to be the ingredient he needed for his stiffness.

It is over 6 months that Danny started the No Starch, No Dairy diet. One month on Apple Cider Vinegar/with mother.

FOR THE LAST WEEK, DANNY HAS BEEN PAIN FREE! YES, I REPEAT, PAIN FREE!

Nothing short of a MIRACLE.

A heartfelt thank you to all the wonderful people at KickAS. You all have made a difference in giving Danny back the quality of life that he and everyone else deserves.

Sincerely,

Laurie