Read Andrew Hartman's story on the experience of living with pain.
Andrew Hartman is a Saskatoon resident who is currently a doctoral student at the University of Saskatchewan. Andrew has had a history of chronic pain throughout their life; currently, Andrew has been navigating how to live well with a diagnosis of ankylosing spondylitis (AS). Ankylosing spondylitis is a global inflammatory disease similar to arthritis that causes pain. Over time, AS can cause bones in the spine (vertebrae) to fuse, and can spread to other joints to cause damage in additional areas of the body.
Initially, Andrew sought the help of surgeons, acupuncturists, podiatrists, counselors, physical and massage therapists, and a nurse practitioner to manage their pain. At times, they were completely debilitated and unable to function. In addition to simply pushing through and trying to ignore the pain – coupled with lots of time resting – Andrew tried various therapies to get their condition under control – but, rarely, did anything help. Andrew indicates that, overall, seeking treatment for their chronic pain has been exhausting, isolating, scary, and traumatic experience for them.
However, grieving the loss of their abled life – and accepting a new, beautiful path that their life could still be – was a turning point in healing for Andrew. Learning to manage their stress, letting go of things that no longer served them, being more self-compassionate, and finding safety in their body in the midst of pain is what has allowed Andrew to start to live well. Despite having AS, Andrew is now thriving as a social entrepreneur and Health & Wellness Coach focused on chronic pain – something that was inspired directly by their lived experience.
Andrew shares about this and so much more in Episode 6 of our “Your Partners in Pain” Podcast, which you can listen to, here.