Deverell Dotos

Dear Ankylosing Spondylitis,

When we first met, you introduced yourself as Once in a Blue Moon. In puberty you were the Holiday Holy Man and at age 18 debuted as the Invincible Independent.

Prior to 22 AS had only pilfered from me. From ages 22 – 25, unabashed, it pick-pocketed my identity, confidence, finances, and foundation. This heist was only possible because An-kill-lo-sing Spond-il-itis is an invisible disability, cloaked so well that it hid from at least 12 privileged prescription-writers.

The 3.5 – 4 year diagnostic episode is similar to the story of Icarus but with a different ending. Our motivation, initial trajectory, and retracement are the same.

During those years,

The Top 11 on my Itunes resembled:

Smokie Norful – I need you now (prayerful, helpless, scared)

Yolanda Adams – Be Blessed (reassured, resilient, ++)

Lauryn Hill – The Conquering Lion (meditative, humble, triumphant, )

Bob Marley – Natural Mystic (ode to Mother Earth)

Lil Wayne – Let the Beat Build (facing fears, conquering, fighting)

John Lennon – Imagine (accepting)

Air – Space Maker (breather, frustration, anger)

Lil Wayne & Eminem – Drop the World (clenched fists, able, release)

Tracy Chapman – All That You Have Is your Soul (zen, cathartic, protective, thankful)

Music and THE deep feeling it liberated, just like the symptoms of AS, crept up  and then consumed me. It gave me lifelines and pep talks and kept me company during agoraphobic bouts. Before AS I thought I knew me. I had long stretch stress days and bought into all the ideas of what was supposed to make me proud and happy. I expected that meeting ‘impossible’ deadlines, a good salary , a Title, a home, pets, and learning to cope with stress rather than stopping it {EGO} would make me happy. I wasn’t aware of the choices and tradeoffs.

In the beginning…when biological symptoms became present, I prepped for various outcomes. I’d been sickly in my youth with Raynauds, Cholesteatoma, general malaise, and migraines. Those experiences along with others were my frame of reference, and just as in those many many instances, I expected to go to an MD and either discuss/debunk, discuss/diagnose/treat, or discuss/diagnose/macabre pose. I hadn’t prepared to discuss/convince/advocate/breakdown/investigate/make peace.

AS, I finally say thank you. You are humbling me by highlighting the tradeoffs, constantly asking me to interrogate my thoughts and actions, and making me more mindful of my effort and intention. Before you, I wanted to be successful <insert social definition>. During the unveiling of you, I wanted to be “back to normal”. Now that I know your name and we are well acquainted, what I want is more congruous with what I need: Happiness and Health.  I appreciate the clarity. Thank you for picking up the excess baggage, and thank you for making me happier, humbler and holistically healthier than before. Thank you for introducing me to Yoga, meditation, better foods, supportive people and a more stress free authentic
Deverell Dotos

San Diego California United States of America


7 Responses to “Deverell Dotos”

  1. Deverell – A most creative and on-target description of what AS does to our bodies and souls. Stay strong – LB

  2. Dear Deverell,
    Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. This is simply amazing, so creative and inspiring. I can’t say enough about it. I love it. I love the picture, the music and the imagination and talent shown. Amazing. Plus you included my most favorite song. All That You Have Is Your Soul. I love Tracy Chapman. Thank you for honoring us with your story.
    Sincerely Cookie

  3. Music helped and healed me along the way.
    Music is powerful.
    Thanks for sharing.

  4. I am so proud of you for sharing your encouraging story. You have truly shown your growth and strength.

  5. Dear Deverel,
    I so love your writings – very well said. May your peace continue to grow as your battle with the beast moves forward. May your soul shine on and share it’s strength and light to those in need.
    Highest regards,

  6. Thank you all for reading and supporting.

  7. You never seize to amaze D. Love your poetic rhythm #EnufSaid

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: