Ankylose This! Living with Ankylosing Spondylitis

Monday, April 30, 2007

Yet another TNF-blocking happy ending

The Salisbury Journal has another one of those articles about an ankylosing spondylitis patient who, having taken Remicade (infliximab), has made a dramatic turnaround: "After I had the treatment, I was out of the hospital like an athlete, I was told it could take several weeks to work but it was amazing and worked straight away," the article quotes the unfortunately named Mark Weakly. "It's like a miracle cure."

As you may know, I've seen a lot of stories like these in the British press.

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Saturday, April 28, 2007

Woosnam continues to struggle with AS

Ian Woosnam's AS is continuing to cause him problems on the golf course. Some quotes: "I can't walk properly and if you can't play if you can't walk. ... I just can't get rid of it -- it's been a long time now. Just walking to the practice ground I'm knackered and after hitting 20 balls I am out of breath. ... It's like cramp and I keep going into spasm. I feel like I've got to go flat out just to swing and I'm not going to play again until I feel better. ... I wake up one day and can swing fine, but then the next I just don't have the movement." He's on anti-TNF therapy, but he's still having trouble; I wonder if his game is simply too hard on him.

Previously: Woosnam's golf tournament prep disrupted by AS; Ian Woosnam, OBE; Woosnam, on anti-TNF therapy, is one stroke off the lead; Ian Woosnam and ankylosing spondylitis

Update, May 1: He's pulled out of the Italian Open as a result of his most recent problems.

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Friday, April 20, 2007

Chris Small now coaching

Retired snooker player (and AS sufferer) Chris Small is now coaching young snooker players, the Glasgow Herald reports in an article that also takes a broader look at Small's career and illness.

Previously: Chris Small denied financial assistance by snooker body; Chris Small profile; Chris Small benefit auction; Chris Small update; Chris Small; AS and sports.

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Saturday, April 14, 2007

Arcoxia approval rejected by FDA panel

More bad news for Merck: an FDA panel voted against approving Arcoxia (etoricoxib), a COX-2 inhibitor touted as a successor to Vioxx: "Expressing concern over the cardiac safety of Arcoxia, the FDA panel voted 20 to 1, opposing the approval of the drug." The FDA's final decision comes on April 27.

Previously: Arcoxia better than naproxen?

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Friday, April 06, 2007

The Everyday Visuals

Christopher Pappas, the 27-year-old singer-songwriter for Boston indie band The Everyday Visuals, has suffered from ankylosing spondylitis since he was 15, the Boston Globe reports:

"It's painful, it's debilitating, and it restricts motion," says Pappas. "But I can't let it win." Remarkably, he's kept his affliction mostly to himself. Until now.

"I never want to be like, 'Oh, the Everyday Visuals -- that's the one with the crippled lead singer,' " explains Pappas over drinks at a local pub with his bandmates -- Zembower, drummer Joseph Seiders , and Eli Scheer and Kyle Fredrickson , who alternate between guitar and keyboards. "But on the other hand, I can't ignore it. When I get up in the morning, I need help putting my jacket on. For me, the disease is not the tough part -- it's walking that line of, how much do I let the disease into my life?"

Indeed, despite his predilection for writing wistful, bittersweet songs that hover at the edge of heartache, there are few clues about Pappas's condition to be found on either the Visuals' self-released 2004 debut, "Media Crush," or their new disc. It is his way, perhaps, of exerting a degree of control over something that otherwise infiltrates and permeates his daily routine. A rare exception, however, is an arresting new track, "Two Birds." "I am just a fading spark, hiding out and bending my straight lines," Pappas sings softly as a lean rumble of guitars, bass, and the crisp snap of drums propel the song. Despite the forward motion of melody, Pappas confides, "I'm the boy who can't get out of bed." The tune, he agrees, " is definitely an example of feeling overwhelmed about the disease and dealing with it."

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Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Enbrel auto-injector available in Canada

An auto-injector for Enbrel (etanercept) is now available in Canada, which should make it easier for patients to administer their own meds. As someone averse to needles, I can appreciate this.

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Woosnam's golf tournament prep disrupted by AS

Pro golfer Ian Woosnam's AS acted up yesterday, disrupting his preparations for the U.S. Masters golf tournament this month. Whose bright idea was it to put a golf tournament in the middle of flare season?

Previously: Ian Woosnam, OBE; Woosnam, on anti-TNF therapy, is one stroke off the lead; Ian Woosnam and ankylosing spondylitis.

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