Just Keep Swimming – a Column by Janneke Phung

Janneke Phung is a 36-year-old mother to three boys and is married to a wonderfully supportive husband. Janneke lives in Calgary, Alberta, where she takes full advantage of being surrounded by both prairies and mountains. Running her home, feeding her family, homeschooling her 6-year-old and keeping her 3-year-old twins out of trouble is her full-time job. In October 2019, after years of health struggles and needing to advocate for herself, she was diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis, which prompted her to make drastic changes to her lifestyle. Her motto is to “Just Keep Swimming” in the face of adversity, with hope in perseverance and passion about advocating for others who struggle with rare diseases

After Diagnosis, I Discovered That Knowledge Boosts My Confidence

When I recently was diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis, I was confronted with complicated terminology that initially overwhelmed me. Klebsiella pneumoniae, molecular mimicry, cytokines, tumor necrosis factor-alpha — the list of complicated terms seemed endless. “Good grief,” I thought, “I’m just an ordinary human being. All of these terms are…

After Diagnosis, Treatment Options Can Boost Hope

On Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019, I was informally diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis. I had already unknowingly suffered the symptoms of AS for years. Realizing I was suffering from an incurable disease stopped me dead in my tracks. I felt a strong compulsion to immediately try to stop whatever was…

Just Keep Swimming

Have you ever watched the movie “Finding Nemo?” If you have, you might recall the scene in which Dory, the optimistic, forgetful, and friendly fish, tells her newfound fish friend Marlin, a clownfish who just lost his only son, Nemo, to “just keep swimming.” Dory’s simple three-word phrase reminds…