Many people who suffer from not only ankylosing spondylitis, but also other autoimmune disorders are familiar with these four words. The problem with the question is that there is no simple answer. For me, my symptoms can change daily. For example, yesterday I couldn’t turn my neck, but today my feet hurt so bad I can barely stand on them for longer than 5 minutes at a time without cringing in tears, and tomorrow I may be just fine. So when I get asked from the doctor what is hurting I have to ask a question right back…are you asking for today only?
Here is the topper: The list doesn’t end with physical ailments. When you are experiencing a flare, haven’t slept in days, smile through pain, and had to adjust your day due to something you cannot control, your emotions can hurt. The frustration you feel is at an erupting peak and helplessness sets in. Anger jumps on board and then you are begging for a few hours of shut eye. You hope your body can re-coop so that whatever physical hurt you have will help your emotional hurt mend. I am still learning how to accept the fact that I can’t plan what will happen tomorrow or even in a few hours. I want so badly to control the pain that when I am at the point of complete exhaustion, instead of breaking down in tears my temper can let loose. I then get frustrated because I know why I am feeling this way, but I just can’t seem to control it. I get upset with myself, my disease, and this loss of control in my life.
So what do I do? Do I curl up in a ball and give up? NO WAY! I fight like a girl! I know that pain is now a part of me, but it is NOT all of me. I put on my sparkly shoes and step out into the world, pain and all, and face it with strength I never knew I had. I may not be 100% but I am someone. I will walk this rocky path knowing that there is only one reason I was meant to face these hurdles in life. I was meant to become stronger because of them. It may hurt everywhere in my body, but I know if I need to stop once in a while to rest that it is okay and should be acceptable. It is all part of the experience. Every experience has good and bad,and no matter how unfair it seems I will be up for the challenge. So if you ask me where it hurts…I will say my list is long, but it won’t stop me from facing them with strength, courage and my whole heart.
This article is intended to convey general educational information and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.