The Switch to Summer and Ankylosing Spondylitis Symptoms

Now that the warmer period finally has arrived in the northern hemisphere many of us experience less flares. Though I myself have never experienced an extreme difference with winter, I have more freedom of movement in the summers. Flares were always there for me, rain or shine. That is, however, in the Dutch climate. In the winter here the temperature doesn’t go below 14°F.

Humidity

The climate where I am at my best is the Mediterranean. My holidays in Spain and Greece were the best. The humidity and heat there caused me to need less medication. And feeling less pain equals more energy for me. Which gives me more freedom to do extra trips on the holiday. I am aware of how diseases can manifest differently per person. I read a lot of reactions of people saying that humidity worsens their pain. For me, it has always been a huge relief.

First summer without medication

Over the last 2 years, I have experienced less and less inflammation, which lead to my rheumatologist taking me off the biologics a couple of months ago. But even now I experience differences. While I don’t have the inflammation pain anymore, the pain due to the damage done is still there. However, the warmer weather makes me a bit more flexible.

Past summers

I’m very grateful that I can now experience more of the summer. However, that wasn’t always the case for me. I have had my sad moments when I saw my friends having a blast outside and all I could do was sit in a chair. Of course, those moments hurt. Of course, I have had times when I thought to myself “why me?” I have the best group of friends though. They always thought of me and always took me being less able into consideration. Carrying my chair so I could sit on the beach and helping me to get into the water.

A not so good period

It was the summer of 2006. My own hips were damaged to the point where it became clear that I needed 2 hip replacements. The hottest period of the year I was in the hospital. Knowing that a lot of friends were having fun at the beach was a bit of fear of missing out. The only thing that I had to cool myself down a little was a wet towel. And even though the disease had taken a lot from me there was one thing that it couldn’t take, my imagination. To be able to cope with it all I had to make a happy place in my mind. If I couldn’t go to the beach I would imagine being there. A disease like AS can take a huge toll on your mental health. So it was just me taking care of my own mind to the best of my ability.

The thought that helped me

Thinking that even the darker periods would pass in time helped me a lot to cope with it. I know that having a chronic illness the future view can be bleak. However, I always did my best to put a bit more sunshine in my view for the future. Finally, I want to wish everybody who experiences less comfort due to the heat a lot of strength.

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