When I think of AS, I'm reminded that:
We have no choice but to move along the best we
can with what we're dealt.
Its components are complex but its affect on me is pretty
It gives me as much pain as I let it. Its simply just
another part of my life.
When I think of Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) physiologically,
often I think of it in pretty simple terms. Its components
are complex but its affect on my body is rather straightforward.
It demands that I give it lots of attention.
In its extreme manifestation, it causes someone to tolerate
a lot of physical pain and deformity, not to mention the associated
emotional pain that is related to all that. In its
less advanced state it demands that the person become aware
of its presence and can therefore cause a lot of anxiety because
of what the future may hold. There is no cure for AS, though
it can be successfully managed, and that's what causes some
people to worry. Worrying itself, of course, just makes things
worse. We have no choice but to move along the best we can
with what we're given.
And that's what I try do, to move along the best I can with
what I've been given. A portion of my energy is given to my
AS. Be this in my nominal daily stretching and exercises or
when a perfect stranger makes the inappropriate (and incorrect)
estimation that my life must be hell because of my back.
My natural way isn't to give one part of my life too much
energy, except for my kids, my spirituality, my creativity,
or my love. So when something comes along demanding lots of
energy I naturally am not willing to tolerate it on its own
terms. So I've decided, with the help of fine friends and
knowledgeable medical people, that the energy I'm giving to
my AS will be on my terms because it is after all my life
and the body I possess. Though AS (as well as any other physical
cause me to feel helpless and frustrated, I've come to accept
the awesome notion that the cells that make up this body of
mine are going to do what they are going to do, that it was
written by my genetic code years ago. I can accept this or
reject it. I can accept the fact that these cells are scripted
to behave in certain ways or I can fictionalize these processes
into my own illusion. I choose to accept this hands down.
But my cells are actually in pretty fine form by and large,
and this body of mine is nothing to sneeze at. I don't have
the need to fictionalize any part of it because it's certainly
good enough as it is. Actually it often surprises me, its
resilience, its capacity for adaptation, its ability to allow
me to feel so much joy at any given moment. AS gives me as
much pain as I let it. Its simply another part of my life.