Ankylosing Spondylitis - My Social Planner

  This morning was one of those mornings, the kind where you would like to stay in bed all day, but can't.

  Normally, I try to not commit to too many engagements on the same weekend, let alone the same day. Ankylosing Spondylitis has taught me very quickly who controls my social agenda. As many of you with autoimmune diseases wholeheartedly know, our minds and hearts may be set on doing something but our bodies may say, "no way, not today".

  I had confirmed months ago, I would attend my cousin's wedding at 4 p.m. today. I was expecting I would have all day to get this ole body moving and ready to attend. Of course, it doesn't always go as planned.

  For several years, I have attended an annual Women's Conference in the fall. I enjoy these conferences very much and value the time with my friends and community. I found out a few weeks ago that the conference was today from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. That's how you end up filling too many activities into one day when you have an autoimmune disease.

  I made it to both events but left both a little early. I would have very much liked to have stayed for the afternoon speaker at the conference. I also would have enjoyed time to catch up with family members at the wedding reception. When you have an autoimmune disease, you learn it's a juggling act. If I had stayed at the conference until 2 p.m., I would not have had time to take a half hour nap before going to the wedding. Without that small recharge I would have been suffering more tonight.

  I spoke with a lady at the conference who has lupus and a connective tissue disease. She was very inspiring for me. One thing she said was no one can really understand what you face day to day, unless, they have an autoimmune or similar disease. Even then, these diseases can affect individuals with such varying symptoms, sometimes we don't truly even understand each other. This lady said at one point before her diagnosis, she was in such tremendous pain she considered taking a lot of Aleve and just giving up. She praised God for helping her through that night and soon after found a doctor who diagnosed her conditions.

  I know there are probably some people, at the events I attended today, who think it's laziness that has a 46 year old woman cut her engagements short for an afternoon nap. I'm not sure that I wouldn't have thought the same when I was in my early twenties, before my whole world changed.

  I hope this blog will help someone understand the life of a person with AS and other diseases. I hope those of us who suffer daily with these unrelenting diseases can stay strong for each other. You never know when a kind word or understanding ear will make the difference between giving up or fighting onward.

  Fighting my body daily. Never give up!