There are many shades of correct and a lot of grey area when it comes to ways to express ourselves.
I didn’t know the areas I would wade into when I started my mission to help raise awareness of Ankylosing Spondylitis but as time has progressed for me on this journey, I’m finding that I feel a deep responsibility to represent people with AS because I have a platform and a voice to do so.
Recently an article was published by ABC news in their internet health pages. It is a much needed article which is why I find it very difficult to criticize, but there is a glaring misrepresentation that has to be brought to light and corrected. The headline of the piece is “Bamboo Spine: Too late for Dad, Not for Daughter”
Seriously – who writes this stuff? There are three huge errors in that headline but the glaring one is using the term “Bamboo Spine” to describe Ankylosing Spondylitis. According to the Spondylitis Association of America, bamboo spine is a phenomenon found on x-rays where the bone is shown growing from the edge of the vertebra across the disc space and between two vertebra, resulting in a bony bridge.
Bamboo spine is not synonymous with Ankylosing Spondylitis. Bamboo spine in my opinion is a derogatory term and ABC News should correct their error.
The next question I have to ask myself is why this bothers me so much, but I’ve decided to dismiss that question as sheer silliness. The question should be why wouldn’t it bother me? Thirty three million people world wide have a disease called Ankylosing Spondylitis – it IS NOT called bamboo spine – stand up today and fight this one or we are at risk of staying muddled in the grey area of misunderstanding.
Day 160 was painted in Mocha Parker Ink
*** Update ***
3/10/2011 5:48 pm – As you will see in my above post I have stricken the sentence “Seriously, who writes this stuff” I feel that it was an insensitive and disrespectful comment to make especially in regards to a story that is high profile and very important in raising awareness of AS. Please accept my apologies – passions can sometimes lead to remarks that are inappropriate.
*** Update ***
3/10/2011 1:50 pm – I love twitter – I was able to communicate with a producer at ABC Health News this morning and he has agreed to change the article – not the headline but part of the email I received stated :
“However, based on your concerns I have taken a closer look at the story, and it is mentioned that:
“Haskew has ankylosing spondylitis, or AS – sometimes called bamboo spine for the way it fuses the backbone…”
In light of your comments to me, what I will be happy to do is clarify this line to read:
“Haskew has ankylosing spondylitis, or AS, which can lead to what is identified on X-rays as bamboo spine due to the way it fuses the backbone…”