Living with a chronic condition like Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) makes you very familiar with the ups and downs of a disease that can leave you debilitated, with the dreaded ‘flare’ descending on you when you least expect it. The ‘flare’ is an annoyance at best, but more often than not it’s downright destructive, being a metaphorical and literal ‘pain in the neck’!!
You may have heard flares being referred to as a ‘battle’. It makes a lot of sense if you think about it; as we shed blood, sweat, and tears over the fight with our flare-up. Well maybe not blood, otherwise you should probably see your doctor. You may even find your flares resemble more of a campaign than a battle, with it almost impossible to see the end in sight. But what about the War?
If a flare-up is the battle, then AS surely is the War?
Can the war be won? In a literal sense I fear the answer is no. Ankylosing Spondylitis is a chronic condition with no cure, it can not be beaten conclusively. But who said wars have to be won? How about a truce? or seize-fire at least? Those are certainly within grasp of most.
Winning the battles are important in the short term, not only for the obvious physical benefits, but hopefully it’s what inspires us into fighting the next impending assault. Long-term, the benefits are much much more important in keeping us from slipping into a never ending cycle of depression and anguish. If we ever have a hope into reaching a truce with AS, we have to be determined to achieve it. Which is easier said then done I know.
Someone great once said:
“There is at least one thing worse than fighting with allies – And that is to fight without them” - Sir Winston S. Churchill
Very few great wars have been won alone, having Allies to fight along side you is key to winning any war. So it stands to reason; in order to stand a fighting chance of beating your AS you need an Ally, but who’s going to be your Ally? As I have mentioned before, the support of charities like NASS and SAA are invaluable to help any AS sufferer to with there battles, knowing there is someone on the other end of the phone is such a blessing.
Social media can provide such a lifeline to some, with Facebook groups /pages dedicated to AS sufferers, and a bundle of Forums providing opportunities to get your questions answered, as well as discuss non-AS related topics. Twitter conversations can be hilarious, meaningful and informative, with a growing community. We can’t forget the role of the health professionals either in supporting us in fighting our War. They provide us with our artillery of anti-inflammatories, opiates and biologics after-all.
The bigger the army, the better the chance of success right?
How’s your War going? What strategies do you find effective? Suppressed behind enemy lines? Need a way out of the trenches? Please share your stories with us, in great numbers there is strength.