Ankylosing Spondylitis: A Blessing In Disguise
So I know what you might be thinking. How the heck is AS a blessing in disguise? Trust me, I think it some days too. In many ways, this disease has taken so much from me. AS has caused me pain, fatigue, friendships, relationships, jobs, and just about everything else. So how can this be a secret blessing? I’ll tell you!
My diagnosis uncovered a new me
It took a year for me to get diagnosed. I know I’m one of the lucky ones for that, and I never take that for granted. That year was agonizing, and I give all the props to those of you that it took much longer. Your strength is truly inspiring.
After my diagnosis, it felt like the puzzle pieces finally started to come together. Learning and reading about AS and its symptoms, I finally felt clear for the first time in a year. I finally knew why my hips were always hurting. And why sometimes I couldn’t walk. It all just started to click, and I was feeling like I was becoming a new person.
My strength was shown
As spoonies, we get told that we are strong so often. Truthfully, most days I don’t feel strong. When I can’t get up and do yoga or wash my face, I don’t feel like I am strong.
I go to therapy weekly. In my session yesterday, my therapist asked me if I’ve realized how strong I’ve been lately. How much I’ve really stepped up and taken care of myself when I didn’t think I could.
I sat there for a second, and I told her that I know I’m strong. I know I’ve made it through so much, but I've never really BELIEVED it. Why don’t I believe it? That’s when I decided I'm going to truly own my illness. I’m not weak just because I need a full day in bed after having 3 appointments in one day. I’m STRONG for listening to my body and listening to what it needs. It may not sound like much, but it takes a lot to actually listen to what your body needs, and then care for it.
The connections I’ve made
Being a part of the AS community has changed my life. Whether it be on Instagram, Facebook, or right here on AnkylosingSpondylitis.net! I’ve helped people, gotten help from others, and made genuine connections that I’m so grateful for.
The fact that we can all come together as a community and help each other out is something that I am so thankful for. We lift each other up, inspire each other, and listen to each other when we have no one else.
I wouldn’t give up this community for anything. It makes me so happy to be a part of it.
I’ve become a better person
As we all know, ankylosing spondylitis is an isolating disease. We often feel like we can’t do things. I often feel like I’m less of a person because my illness is so prominent in my life. The truth is, the fact that I own it and am actively taking care of it makes me MORE of a person.
AS has made me realize the person that I’ve always wanted to be, and it’s given me a purpose in life. Before having AS, I was lost. I didn’t know what I really wanted to do in life. Ankylosing spondylitis has been my blessing in disguise all along.
Other than back pain and fatigue, what is the most common symptom that AS patients experience?