Living AS Champions : Sheetal’s Story | Fight The Fuse

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Sheetal's Story

Sheetal - Ankylosing Spondylitis Warrior
Sheetal - Ankylosing Spondylitis Warrior

I was born in Kutch Gujarat, but have spent most of my life in Mumbai. I began to work at a young age – running events and camps for children.

My Ankylosing Spondylitis Journey

I was first misdiagnosed in 2008. It was only in 2013 when I started showing symptoms, that I began to seek treatment again. I initially made multiple visits to an orthopedician.  I even saw a homeopath who said I did not have Ankylosing Spondylitis because I did not have structural damage or bad posture! It was only when I landed up at a Rheumatologist’s clinic that I was diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis.

Speaking to the doctor calmed me down. He put me on medication immediately. When I was first diagnosed, my life completely changed initially. I was shocked that I could not even stand. The pain would keep shifting all over my body – my knees, leg, back. Sometimes it was so bad, I would literally crawl to the bathroom. All the little things that I previously enjoyed, like going on excursions, stopped. I had to be on medicines just to do my routine work.

My mother was very worried about what people will think and say. I, on the other hand, was focused on getting rid of the pain. I spent hours online, looking for symptoms and treatment. It was through my online searches that I discovered Facebook patient groups for Ankylosing Spondylitis and later, WhatsApp groups. These groups opened me up to several other patients who were already at the stage of spinal fusion. Initially, it got me worried. But over time, these patient groups became a source of knowledge and emotional support, and like a family.

Sheetal - Ankylosing Spondylitis Warrior

My Life Today

Managing my lifestyle with Ankylosing spondylitis has proved to be incredibly beneficial to me. I eat a lot of fruits, no packaged food, and am on a healthy diet.

There has been a complete change from my initial days when all I could think was that I did not want to be in a wheelchair or lose mobility due to bamboo spine or fusion. Today I am able to motivate other patients who are depressed or concerned.

Sheetal - Ankylosing Spondylitis Warrior

I am happy to have traveled the world, 32 countries over 5 years. I have backpacked across four continents, and I am currently volunteering in Malawi. I feel grateful for the opportunity to lead the life that I am living.

Sheetal - Ankylosing Spondylitis Warrior
Sheetal - Ankylosing Spondylitis Warrior
Sheetal - Ankylosing Spondylitis Warrior

Living a healthy, clean, and quiet life while pursuing my love for travel makes me feel blessed. Whenever I am back in India, from my travels, I try to meet or connect with my fellow AS warriors.

Sheetal - Ankylosing Spondylitis Warrior

Today at the age of 38, I have been in remission for nearly three years. Sounds ironic, but I am thankful to Ankylosing Spondylitis for the journey I’ve been on. It has helped me reach out to other community members and most importantly, lead a disciplined life that I cherish every moment.

- Sheetal Pasad, Traveller & AS Warrior
Sheetal - Ankylosing Spondylitis Warrior
Sheetal - Ankylosing Spondylitis Warrior