Nadean has Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) and osteoarthritis (OA). She has had AS since she was a child but was not formally diagnosed with AS until July 2010. As a child, her symptoms started as back pain, rib pain, irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis and swallowing difficulties. As she got older, her symptoms continued to worsen.
After getting a second opinion from another rheumatologist, she was tested for HLA-B27, and she had it. Her rheumatologist concluded that she had both AS and OA. She started on Biologic medications as well as anti-inflammatory medications. “I was like a new person,” she said. “I have my good days and my bad days, but I am learning to live one day at a time, and having a great, supportive family has made all the difference!”
Nadean became involved with the Arthritis Foundation in 2011 as an RN heading up the health office at Camp Spirit, a camp for children with juvenile arthritis (JA). She has been Camp Spirit’s nurse now for the last three years. “I cannot put into words how much I have learned from these amazing kids ages 8-15."
Nadean continues to spread awareness about AS because most people have no idea what it is. “I am grateful for the Arthritis Foundation and I have learned so much. With proper funding for research, I strongly believe we will find a cure someday,” she said.