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Fiona Olegasegarem

Ankylosing Spondylitis Community Advocate Fiona Olegasegarem Fiona lives in London with her partner Kev, and is still waiting to get a dog. She grew up in Sydney, and moved to London in 2010, and a couple of years in, abandoned journalism in favour of pursuing a career in acting and musical theatre.

She trained in Musical Theatre in London – having been trained in dance and Speech & Drama in Sydney – which is where she had an injury, which indirectly led to her being diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis 4 years later. In Drama school, Fiona tore her ACL ligament, found a brilliant physio named Joe who worked with her pre and post op. and along the rehab journey fit together that the tendonitis, hip pain and weird lower back sensations were possibly AS. He pushed for her to have tests done when other Drs didn’t think it necessary, and they came back RA positive. After being referred to a rheumatologist and having a full spinal and hips MRI, she was diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis in April 2018, and symptoms rapidly progressed over the year. In October she began taking Benepali, an Anti-TNF biologic. Fiona is incredibly grateful for the NHS (National Health Service) in the UK, and all it (and the brilliant individuals) has done for her thus far.

With the diagnosis of AS, performance took a step back. Although she will not be able to dance professionally, in 2019 Fiona was able to gradually start performing, and a highlight was dressing up as a singing nun. Fiona teaches Speech & Drama, Piano and Singing and her students are pretty fantastic.

She began her Instagram account @meilansmusings in July 2019 to try to raise awareness, support and encourage other people with AS and chronic conditions. When Fiona was diagnosed she felt completely overwhelmed, terrified, and wanted to hear from other people – particularly people her age – and their stories and experiences, and how they managed the condition. She wants her page to be a safe place and one of positivity…and also with photos of food and cute animals.

Click here to read all of Fiona’s articles on AnkylosingSpondylitis.net.