So much has happened since my last post. A diagnosis of ankylosis spondylitis, the sudden death of my mother in law, brother and cousin, my son moving out, my daughter ending a long term relationship and suddenly having to manage a house and career alone, it’s truly been a challenging time. It started with the diagnosis of this inflammatory arthritis (ankylosis spondylitis) and yes it did take me somewhat by surprise. After my intense thyroid issues, I had basically convinced myself the symptoms I was experiencing were intricately tied to this butterflied shaped demon of a gland that I had come to despise. However, low and behold, after many tests in which my thyroid readings were in normal range, I began to lose hope I would ever find the the reason my body felt like a never ending episode of invasion of the body snatchers. Tests, more tests, and yes more tests lead me to a rheumatologist and a diagnosis I could barely pronounce let alone come to grips with. Now the options! Daunting, overwhelming, confusing, terrifying…news flash, I haven’t even come to the realization I have this condition yet, let alone begun to think how to attack it! Good news my Rheumatologist tells me, body in motion is one of the best defenses! Keep practicing yoga! Well that was spectacular in theory but could someone please convince my inflamed and achy joints of that, they apparently had not got the memo! Beside the incredible exhaustion and brain fog, my mind couldn’t distinguish between downward facing dog, upward facing dog, or hey there’s a dog in the house! HELP! First I had to accept this was a reality, it wasn’t going away, and the most I could hope for was to be able to slow its progression. I felt flawed, imperfect, I wondered if my husband and family would understand. I began to have to choose tasks to accomplish instead of accomplishing the five I knew had to be done, and always were done, by the end of the day. The spoon theory became my new normal. The dreams I had of retirement, where I would pursue my photography and open up my yoga studio seemed like wisps of smoke slipping through my fingertips, drifting further from my grasp. Steroids became my very best friend and when we had to part (they are not a long term solution) I became depressed and hopeless. Every new medication came with a price…headaches, stomach upset, exhaustion just to name a few. I have learned to accept this thing called AS (I’d really like to add an S to that). I am on a regimen now which has its downsides, but I’m not quite ready for the next step in managing this, yet. I plug along, some days better then others. I have come to realize it’s not that my family doesn’t believe me, it’s their fear that I am seeing; they don’t want to see me as anything other then super mom, super wife. I have the incredible support of my sisters, and my faith, and most days this is enough…so on the days it isn’t…..to quote Arya Stark…..NOT TODAY. I march on.