Living AS Champions : Yogaraj's Story | Fight The Fuse

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Yogaraj's Story

Video Transcript :

Hi, I am Yogaraj Shekhar, 30 years old. I am a mechanical engineer from Chennai where I live with my parents. On the occasion of World Ankylosing Spondylitis Month, I want to share my journey with AS warriors like me.

Yogaraj - Ankylosing Spondylitis Warrior

Initial Misdiagnosis and Its Impact

I first started getting pain when I was a teenager. For many years, doctors thought it was an ortho problem, unrelated to arthritis. I was not able to attend social events or mingle with my friends or join family functions as a result of the pain.

My passion is riding my bike, but since the last 3-4 years I am not able to drive the two-wheeler because of this condition.

During these years, my parents spent so much time and money to find the right treatment. They went with me to doctors, tried various treatments like Ayurveda, Siddha, and Homeopathy.

However, despite everyone’s efforts, my health condition aggravated.

Diagnosing Ankylosing Spondylitis

It was at the age of 29, I was officially diagnosed with AS – 16 years delayed diagnosis.

I went to a Rheumatologist who told me that it is time for me to switch to biologics so that there is no spinal fusion and my condition does not worsen with time.

Work and Professional Life

I am a first-generation graduate (in my family), so I want to prove myself, I want to move the economic status of my family to another level.

Yogaraj - Ankylosing Spondylitis Warrior

My passion is to be an automotive engineer. I like the work I’m doing, so that motivated me to push my limits, to work harder.

I’m managing my work life with my willpower. I’m a design engineer, so I do not have any physical activity in my office.

Major physical activity involves traveling to an office.

I can deliver a hundred percent, just like others and I received appreciation from my company. My company is supportive and so are my office colleagues. They can understand my problem. Whenever there is an event, they can encourage me to come and join the event and make me feel very comfortable in that.

Yogaraj - Ankylosing Spondylitis Warrior

My Message to Fellow AS Warriors

If you are diagnosed with AS, please go for what the Rheumatologist has advised.

Along with that, swimming and exercise is very effective. So that is the best way to keep us mobilized and do exercise daily as a routine.

To all my AS Warriors, I say, “Don’t lose hope and don’t get depressed, for everything there is a solution. My friends, my office colleagues, and my parents have been supportive.

Just speak out and tell your problems to your friends and they can really help you to come out of this problem.”

Yogaraj - Ankylosing Spondylitis Warrior

AS is not the End of our Life

We have to accept ourselves if we have some issue; so, we have to plan that. If we feel depressed, we can consult, we can meet a psychiatrist, and go for counseling. They will really help us so we can come out, we can fight back and we can do our work.