The only way I can show you what an Ankylosing Spondylitis (A.S.) Flare-up (Attack) feels like is if you imagine your chest being stepped on by an elephant, and also at the same time, someone is sticking a screwdriver into your spine. That is as close to what an A.S. Flare-up feels like: I should know – I’ve been going through one for the last 6 or 7 hours. Arthritis does really suck!
I wanted to let you know of a couple of sites that you should visit! I mean, I highly recommend that you go visit these sites – one is a facebook page, The Feeding Edge & Art Apple A Day, and the other is a website/ART Blog, THE FEEDING EDGE.
These are sites run, produced, created and operated by a new friend, Jennifer Dye Visscher.
Jennifer has created these Internet Pages, as a way to get the word out there, about Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS), Health Advocacy, Positivity, and of course, her beautiful art.
Jennifer has created a wonderful platform to reach out to the public: She is doing an artwork a day project and this has been going on for the better part of a year. This project is called, “a daily art apple for Ankylosing Spondylitis awareness.”
You see, Jennifer and I both have AS, so I know how important her project is, so I want you to be aware of it. Please visit her sites; you will enjoy seeing her apple artwork, which is quite amazing and beautiful. In addition, you will learn some new information about AS.
Photography & Arthritis: There’s got to be a link. No, no, not a medical link…Don’t think I’m that totally crazy to suggest that sort of thing, LOLOL! ;^} )I’m talking about a link (the CHALLENGE of) between HAVING Arthritis, and, DOING Photography.
It’s quite difficult sometimes to even think about doing photography when I’m feeling pain from my arthritis. Nevertheless, the overwhelming drive to be creative…and to be a CREATIVE in the face-of-pain, is what makes even the “Arthritic Photographer” sally forth in the quest to pursue and to capture a tremendous capture.Click HERE, to see the rest of the blog entry.
I quickly wake up.
The room is dark.
The atmosphere is silent.
It’s happening again, getting breath becomes a convulsive effort at best.
I lie there in bed, suddenly realizing that I’m gasping for a decent amount of air to fill my lungs, but it won’t come.
Morning confusion and pain, the more I struggle, the harder it is to get a good breath.
The more awake I become, the more I struggle, but there is only so much I can do to expand a ribcage that does not want to expand.
The short night’s sleep was enough to undo the progress I made the day before to loosen up the bones that make up my chest. All it takes is a few hours of stillness, if I can call tossing and turning most of the night, stillness. A few hours of sleep is enough for my ribs to tighten up again.
The pressure of the early morning air seems to crush in on me, and I fight for a breath. Muscle spasms quickly hit me and that adds to the confused and unnatural efforts it takes to capture unsteady, small amounts of air.
Even the unevenness of the wrinkled sheets pressing against my ribs cause excruciating pain for which I can find no relief. I toss and turn slowly from side to side finding that the wrinkled sheets have created little…how to describe…like little speed bumps all over the bed, and those push up into my body triggering more muscle spasms and crushing my chest.
Just a breath, just want no pain. “I just want to wake up and feel good in the morning,” my brain screams!
“If lying down is horrible, then sitting up must be better,” I say to myself.
I begin the sitting up process: I push myself into a sitting position, and then I swing my legs off the bed and I sit there in pain. I feel the spasms hit me in regular fits as I attempt to breath normally again.
It feels like the ‘Devil Hand Grip’ squeezing my chest. Perhaps, this is the ultimate wrestling hold of all time, I don’t know. What I do know is that this crushing hold happens with all too often a frequency.
After several minutes of sitting at the edge of the bed, there is no relief, it is the same…standing must be better. It is too bad that I can’t sleep while moving around, while walking.
Standing is better.
The ribs are still clamped down on my lungs, but they are easing slightly and loosening up the more I move, the more I breath.
The spasms subside as the minutes tick away: An hour goes by and breathing is considerably easier.
Breathing. A full and refreshing breath. Something so natural, so necessary, so unnoticed most of the time. However, when episodes like this happen, the lack of good breathing becomes very noticeable to the “Spondy” (a term for a person with Ankylosing Spondylitis), especially in the early hours of the morning.
What sets it off? I don’t know: It’s just the disease. That’s what happens. I should be used to it by now, after 26 years of mornings similar to this one today. But why should anyone ever get used to pain? I don’t have the answer to that one either, but I know that as a Spondy, it will come and that is all there is to it. I’m not bitching about it: I’m just sharing a few thoughts about what it is like for me with Ankylosing Spondylitis. Maybe there are others with AS who can identify with these types of mornings. If you can, then you are not alone. I only wish I had some answers for you to help make the “experience” easier.
One thing I can tell you is that there are, what I call, trigger foods: Trigger Foods are those that seem to cause inflammation in the body. At least, the list of foods that follow are some of the ones that make me feel very horrible the next morning, because they seem to consistently cause more stiffness and pain for me:
- yellow dhal (lentils)
- tomatoes, tomato paste, and tomato sauce (ketchup is OK, however – not sure why, but happy about this!).
- …and there are more, but these are my worst.
The problem is: I love eating all of these things! Damn the Arthritis! Anyway, these foods, or any type of food that has a lot of these products in them (i.e., pizza, and many of the South Indian foods that I like to eat), seem to cause me extra pain. All I can say is: “Eat at your own risk!”
I’ve had my share of good, bad and ugly mornings. This one was particularly UGLY! Maybe that is why this blog entry is finally surfacing.
Maybe it’s just the wrinkled sheets.
“The Magic Pill.” Well, there’s really NO “magic pill”, but for me with combating Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS), my weapon of choice is Voltaren, thus the big-“V”. It is an OK choice for AS.
However, there are OVER 100 types of Arthritis out there now!!! One source claims 171 types of Arthritis exist. Thus, depending on what you have, certain drugs may or may not relieve the swelling and pain.
Here in Malaysia, there is a launching of National RA Day…6th July. This is good because it will help bring awareness to the general public as well as help those who suffer from arthritis, and in this case, Rheumatoid Arthritis.
I wanted to do my part to spread the word, make people aware, and do something creative with my art photography to advertise the National RA Day.
If you are concerned about, experience RA, or know someone who suffers from RA, then please, get yourself educated on this disease so you can help yourself, or someone you care about!
What I couldn’t quite understand, however, was why would they hold an Arthritis talk-event in the early morning, and 8:30am is early for many of us, because it takes longer than that, some days, to start feeling halfway human and moving looser. 1PM or 2PM would be a better time to have an Arthritis event, well, in my general opinion.
On a different note: If you publish a blog from Flickr, DON’T believe it when it says it failed to publish the blog. It told me that three times, and I came to WordPress and it was published three times.