In the spring of 2017, I was diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis. AS has been quite annoying and inconvenient. When I make sudden movements involving my hips a surge of pain will be triggered and radiate around my lower back for seconds. These daily pains are incredibly inconvenient but there are ways to cope with them other than just with western medicine (These are the best though). I would recommend making a good relationship with your rheumatologist. Your rheumatologist is there to help you. Tell them as much detail as possible about your pain and notify them when there are things that seem off. Communication with your rheumatologist is a crucial factor in your path to remission. Without communication, your rheumatologist will have a significantly more difficult time assisting you. In communication, another important force is not just telling, but also listening. Listen to your rheumatologist. They endured years of rigorous academics not for their information to go through one of their patient’s ear and out the other. Your rheumatologist is the best source of information. A good relationship with your rheumatologist boils down to communication, which is supported by the pillars of telling and listening. Another way of coping with AS is to proceed with caution on the internet. This may be an unusual one, but it’s true. Think about this, you’re on a boat. You are on the front deck, clinging on to the railings, staring down into the water in search of interesting sea creatures. As you look at the gleaming water, you see something eye catching. Perhaps it’s a dolphin, a whale, a school of fish? To your surprise (or not), it’s just a plastic bag. That sucks, but what sucks even more is that this is the 200th time you’ve mistaken a piece of trash for a friend of the sea. This is no different than the internet. The internet is a ravishing sea filled with both phenomenally supportive and unbelievably antagonistic-like data. Your chances of finding a dolphin that’ll help cope with AS is difficult. Instead, you might be directed to some sort of garbage blog about how mass consumption of inflammatory response provoking foods reverses the effects of AS (please, do not do this). It’s easy for people to publish a pseudo health article, just as how easy it is for someone to throw a water bottle into the sea (and mistaken it for a school of fish). If you really want to find something helpful on the internet, make sure it is backed up by concrete empirical data, and notable individuals who know what they’re talking about. When you eventually find that dolphin, do something you love. Do not continue lingering around AS. It’s okay to read about people’s experiences with AS to learn better ways of coping with it (like what you’re doing right now). However, there is a threshold to where immersing one in the virtual social world of AS is damaging. Often times people will go on rants about their AS, as if it’s what defines them. It is important to talk and listen (the pillars of communication), but an overload of one, the other, or both can be damaging. Reading too much about people’s AS rants can give one anxiety, furthermore worsening their mental state. Talking too much about one’s AS experience can be damaging to others mental states, feeding into their anxiety. Doing any one of these excessively is also damaging to their time. Time is key, and instead of spending time filling one with anxiety, the time can be spent on something else. I love computer science and I want to understand it to the fullest. It is my passion. A passion which helps me get my mind off AS. This philosophy can be applied to many different activities. Listen to music, hang out with friends, read, play video games, and engage in a hobby; something with the ability to make you smile and pass the time away pleasantly. Yes, the AS will still follow you no matter the activity you engage in, and you will also still think about it. However, if you can engage in something that reminds you that life is not all suffering from AS, I can guarantee you that you will be happier, and stronger against AS. As long as one stays in Hade’s sorrowful underworld of AS, AS will always win over you. Evade such a dystopia to get closer to remission. Keep fighting AS warriors.
MiguelJanuary 15, 2019