Since I was 20 yrs old I felt something just wasn’t right. I’ve been battling with my own mind never trusting what I was feeling was real. I’ve kept a secret and lied to myself that the pain wasn’t there. This is my testimonial. Mine is a story of struggle, realization, and ultimately a newfound hope. I have AS. Ankylosing Spondylitis. Learning of this for me has been the most amazing discovery. I have finally put a name to the face I’ve been acquainted with for 16 years. I’ve been experiencing inexplicable pain for so long and no doctors have been able to tell me what was causing it. It made me feel like I was imagining everything and even sent me to the ER with panic attacks. I was messed up for awhile there! Anyway, difficult to diagnose and often mistaken for arthritis, this disease has been slowly stealing my life away. But no longer. Today I am celebrating. This thing, this pain in the ass (and everywhere else) thing finally has a name. And because it is probably going to be with me for the rest of my life I will face it, I will embrace and you better believe, I will make it!
You can’t see it but inside I’m suffering, I’m dying
outside I’m crying but trying.
Judge not for I am like you. Not YOU but like you.
Some hide behind it, some take pride in it;
I chose to grow with it. Like a slow tide I will just flow with it.
It’s no miracle. human strength is satiracle.
No mind games, it’s more like an inferno.
Stretching higher and higher until I’m looking down on that fire.
It is hell down there, suffocating and intoxicating.
But in the open there is a freedom.
It’s invigorating it’s rejuvenating and yes I can breathe.
– Poem written by Cynthia Ashley