Hey, guys! My name is Craig, I’m South Australian and 28 years old.
I’m about 5 years strong on my chronic illness venture and would like to introduce myself by sharing a short story about what I’ve faced so far:
It’s 2015 and I’m only 22. I was a fit, healthy Fly-In-Fly-Out Rigger working in Western Australia loving life on the path to work internationally.
It all started when I picked something up at work that was in the way of my machine. It wasn’t that heavy or awkward but still managed to bulge disks and crush nerves in my spine. The next day I woke up and couldn’t move without severe nerve pain through my whole body and was on the beginnings of a journey with Ankylosing Spondylitis.
(Insert two weeks of boring, painful light duties at work that didn’t do any favours at all)
Fast forward to flying back home getting worse with each day still not knowing what’s going on. New to living alone (Another long story) and after a fall that was impossible to get up from I was finally bedridden. Literally couldn’t get off my back for weeks while the doctors performed painful test after test to figure out what was wrong.
Not many people my age have had that experience of de-humanisation. Not many people have had to go #1 in a milk bottle because the toilet is just too far away.. So, yeah? I get it. If you’ve been there. Congratulations for making it this far in life! It couldn’t of been easy.
3 years and 276985 doctors later I’ve been diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis and can nearly walk again thanks to rehab and hydro. I’m beginning to realise my life will never be the same again though due to a genetic defect I had no idea about. Very bittersweet!
It’s now about 5 years and 1 major pandemic later. I’ve beat the doctors opinion by very rarely using my walking stick, not needing a wheelchair, working full time in a new trade as an apprentice marine upholsterer. I also have a super amazing community that I am very proud to be a part of.
What more could I ask for? Honestly.
If you’d like some support or want to help me fight the big sad. Find me! I love to chat haha