When healthcare marketing executive Bill Balderaz was diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis in 2011, he was in constant pain. Balderaz, who owned his own business, worried that his symptomswould start impacting his work and his time spent being active with his family. “I remember going to the doctor almost weekly for a new symptom,” he recalls.
But one particular visit, when his doctor told him that he had no choice but to live with his ankylosing spondylitis symptoms, triggered Balderaz to make a change. “That’s when I became determined to beat ankylosing spondylitis,” he says, adding that he still recalls the drive back from that appointment.
Balderaz began by making several life changes. He eliminated his trigger foods, changed his workout program to strengthen his core, and found a good physical therapist. These changes helped alleviate his symptoms over time to the point that, with his doctor’s guidance, Balderaz was able to wean off medications he was first taking to manage the condition.
Today, Balderaz continues to stay active: He runs 5K races, goes skiing and boating with his kids, and works out regularly. He has even started another business. While he still has bad days with significant pain and swelling, Balderaz feels much more in control of his life and his body. He believes in taking an active approach to managing ankylosing spondylitis: “The best thing you can do,” he says, “is to find what works for you and to take control.”