I guess my situation may be a little different since I worked for my dad. I saw him 6 days a week, so he could physically see how I was doing. He knew every time I had to take off for a doctor’s appointment. So, there was no hiding it from him. Here is my experience with ankylosing spondylitis and my family.
My parents knew from the very beginning. My dad actually taking me to a doctor’s appointment led to my diagnosis. Having my parents involved in my journey was comforting. I felt like I could discuss my treatment options with them, and they were engaged in the conversation. I know that family involvement will vary, but it was a huge help for me.
An important issue to address with your family after you tell them about your ankylosing spondylitis diagnosis is expectations. Everyone will experience AS differently. Some people’s biggest symptom is pain and discomfort. For others it might be fatigue. You might experience a combination of symptoms that will change daily. It is important to let your family know what you are experiencing. If you don’t let them know, you can’t get mad when they don’t understand.
For me, it was also very important to talk to my family about my treatment. There are times I was prescribed some pretty strong medications. I wanted them to understand the side effects. This way they would know what to look for when we were out.
If you don’t have family that you feel comfortable talking to, try talking to a trusted friend. You might be pleasantly surprised at their reaction. I feel very fortunate to have friends and family who are very supportive. Give your family and friends a chance.
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