You can win the Battle, but can you win the War?

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?

The greatest war ever to have taken place!
Image credit:

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.

12 Replies to “You can win the Battle, but can you win the War?”

  1. Shawna Milner

    The best thing that I have found to help in my battle against AS is to exercise, exercise, exercise. Some days I wake up hurting and tired…those mornings I push past all of that and I exercise. I exercise hard. I go the distance even when I feel I cannot. Some days it helps ease my pain, and some it does not change my pain levels at all. But it helps me feel like I have taken back my body from AS. And every day that I push through and win a small battlle physically, it eases my mind.

    • Endless Trax

      Thank you for your comment Shawna.

      I think feeling like you have taken back your body, and your in charge is one of the most important things. Thank you for sharing that message.

      I’m glad you have found the key to winning your battles.

  2. Tracey

    Social media sure is a powerful ally Ricky.

    I wish it had been around when one doctor suggested that the pain (undiagnosed at the time) was in my head. I thought I was losing my grip. Social media tells me many with AS had the same experience… multiplied by how many other types of chronic conditions?

    Do some doctors still say that?

  3. Chloe

    I used to see my body as a battle ground and felt that I had to constantly fight my AS. This was tiring and self destructive often resulting in more pain and frustration. As I have learnt to accept my condition over the past couple of years my attitude has changed. AS and I have to live alongside each other, it will always be a part of my life. I have learnt to listen to my body knowing when I can push myself and when I need to give it a break. As a result I am much happier.

  4. Martin Kelly

    I’m just at the eve of my war with AS. Waiting to see a specialist. I spent a long time feeling I was losing the plot. Doctor wasn’t sure what to do with me. Even put forward for therapy – just in case !! Then after X-rays showed that I wasn’t ‘making it up’ I found NASS and CASP via twitter and was able to relate to the info and tweets. This I found to be of great importance. I didn’t have the slightest clue what to expect from AS or how it would be having AS but now I feel I have others that I can actually drop a quick tweet to and not feel like I have to feel guilty of moaning. It’s a great feeling of reassurance knowing there’s a great bunch of people ready to listen. What happens next for me at my initial hospital appointment I don’t know, but I’m not stressing as much as I thought I would as I know I have others to talk to.

    • Endless Trax

      I’m glad you have found the support you feel you need at such a difficult part of your journey. One thing you can always rely on is that your not alone.

      Thank you for sharing with us. I hope you gain much more for our online support networks.

  5. jackieat60

    Great blog, as usual! I think 40+ years into ‘my life with AS’ I have reached a ‘stand off’. I am in a situation of few major flares, just the odd ‘skirmish’. I have had all these years of fighting, yet with the knowledge available now, there would have been a slightly different strategy. However, I have to accept where I am now, and live with the severe damage done to my body and try to accept my limitations, and live as I am now. But AS is a nasty, sneaky disease, every now and then it just has to remind me that there maybe a ‘stand off’ but at any time it can still send that lorry to run me over during the night, or the bat that batters every joint it can reach during the night. That it can let me think there s nothing new to be experienced, then my hands start swelling and cause dreadful pain.
    But thank goodness for the activists, the AS Groups, the tremendous friends on line from the AS community,the blogs to be read and the blogs to write – the huge support which is now available. None of this can lessen the pain, but can support you emotionally when you need it most. Thanks or all your work.

  6. Tosha of Bottled Time

    I really like the anaolgy of achieving a truce or seize fire. Looking at a life of chronic illness, it can be daunting to know the war can never be won. And many of the allies we had pre-chronic illness seem to no longer be on our team. Finding resources and new supports is important.

    One major question for you however, was the road runner-coyote war truly greater than that of Tom & Jerry? As a child I would have agreed with you, but now I’m not so sure.

    • Endless Trax

      Thank you for your feedback Tosha. Glad you enjoyed my anaolgy too. Still proud of myself for coming up with that one lol.

      Hmmm……Tom and Jerry was a close second in the running for greatest war ever, but I must admit it was a close call. In my eye’s Wyle and Road Runner just win by a beaks length.

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