Friday, June 9, 2023

What Might Have Been

I had a dream the other night that has really stayed with me.  Does that ever happen to you?  You wake with it vividly inside you and it wanders about your brain until you have that “Ahhh” moment where a piece of it clicks into such focus that you instantly understand why it won’t let you go.

I had a dream the other night.

I could feel the warmth of the sun and the breeze ruffling and lifting my skirt.  I was walking up a long hillside through tall grasses and wild flowers and the only sounds I could hear were the hum of the bees and the songbirds chirping their joy at the beauty of the day.  It was one of those dreams where everything was perfect – the place you go when you are trying to escape everything.  Perhaps that hillside is how I envision heaven – it did appear to me from somewhere.  I reached the top of the hill with my two kitties: Tagger, an orange mackerel with big graffiti swirls on his sides, and Bittie, a stout little black and white girl, who I rescued at such a young age that I really don’t think she knows she’s a cat.  We turned around to take in the view and look down the valley.  I raised my face to the warmth of the sun and took in a deep breath of the field and absorbed the summer sun.  Then I heard some sweet little voices way below. A boy and a girl were playing in a small clearing by some trees and a small brook giggling in delight.

I had to run to them.

I headed down the slope and felt that I was running and floating and flying all at the same time and the joy was immense.  It was then that I said to myself – in my dream – “Wow, I don’t have AS!” And that is when I thought that perhaps they were the children I couldn’t have because of the years on methotrexate, a chemotherapy drug that not only helps to suppress your immune function, but also keeps you from holding a pregnancy.  Those years and the thoughts of children imagined but never allowed to begin – regardless of a possible conception – torment me at times. In a dream where I didn’t have Ankylosing Spondylitis, my mind created this world.  I no longer feel sorry for myself – well, not often.  I have lived with AS for enough years that I’ve made it to the acceptance stage.  I accept this is my cross to bear.  I accept the experiences I won’t have.  I accept the pain both physical and emotional.  I fought for this acceptance and I fight every day.  I fight for continued acceptance of others just as I fight to deal with the issues surrounding my health.  And, I fight to find a way to have the strength to share my story and my experiences.

Fight Like A Girl Club is an amazing place for us to find other women going through the similar struggles and making it! I look forward to hearing from you about how you fight back too!

–  Jenna

This article is intended to convey general educational information and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.

Check Also

Maia’s Story (Multiple Diagnoses – 10 Year Update)

My name is Maia, and this is the first time I have wanted to write …


  1. Felicia Fibro

    You so vividly described your dream that I can tell it would’ve just felt perfect to be in! Your post made me shed a few tears as well. I don’t remember having any dreams where my body was free of fibromyalgia symptoms, but I know that dreaming it would feel blissful. I can only imagine the impact re-accounting your dream, upon waking, had on you. I could totally relate to all of your “I accept” statements too.

  2. Kimberly Orr

    Jenna- this brought tears to my eyes. What an amazing strong woman you are!

    • Jenna

      Thank you so much for adding a comment. You my friend are a strong woman too – just different stories.
      Love to you 🙂

  3. Meloni

    Beautiful story! Thanks for sharing!

    • Jenna

      Thank you Meloni – we all have different ways AS has affected our lives and robbed us of experiences. Love to you and your family.

  4. Hedy Francois

    I definitely needed a tissue. It’s such a heartwarming ,vivid dream that you had Jenna. Thank you for sharing it was us, who also suffer from ” AS”. You’re a strong woman, don’t give up HOPE!

    • Jenna

      Thank you for such kind words here and all of your continued support for our Hope and Apples project.
      Big Huge Hug to You!

  5. Mlissabeth


    I have been blessed with two children that I thought I might never have. I have also been blessed by two cancers, and Multiple Sclerosis. Blessed, because through my struggles and fights with these conditions, I have found how truly strong I am. I am pleased to see that you share my passion for the fights we each must face, both in ourselves and for others in their circustances. Keep up the good fight!

  6. Katie Powell

    I think we grieve the lives we couldn’t have. We mourn them the way we would an intimate loved one. Our hearts long for those lives, even though we’ve never met them. Sometimes that longing is sweet, like this dream, but often it’s sad, just the weight and gravity of all that we can’t have. But your dream was beautiful. I guess we’re left with the challenge to make the lives we HAVE as beautiful as possible, to bring some of the light and warmth of that dream into our realities. Thank you for inspiring others.

  7. Melissa

    Not until I read your post have I really made any time or space in my brain to think about what I’m missing out on, and what I will miss in the future, primarily due to AS. I’m always so busy managing my diseases, swallowing piles of pills, working (with difficulty), taking care of my house & family, practicing gratitude, and taking time to recover from my responsibilities.

    It bring tears to my eyes to realize the life I invisioned for myself when I was young has only partly come to pass. AS certainly does its best to stop us in our tracks! The burden of pushing through the fatigue and pain each day is heavy.

    I have been blessed to give birth to and raise three beautiful boys. I can only imagine your pain and feelings of lose, Jenna. Like my husband, you have a step-child, the next best thing. I know step-parenting can feel like walking a tightrope at times, but the joy you’ve experienced with her over the years, and the beautiful bond I’m sure you’ve developed with her, is very real. I was fortunate to be raised by a step-father who “chose” to be my father. It’s a very noble job to take on! Someday your step-daughter will have a child of her own, your grandbaby, who will certainly bring you enormous joy!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *