Your prognosis with ankylosing spondylitis and axial spondyloarthritis: Looking Forward to Better Outcomes
Receiving a diagnosis can come with a huge sense of loss. The future you had mapped out for yourself dissolves before your eyes and gets replaced by uncertainty.
What will become of my career?
How will I care for my children?
What will old age be like for me?
One of the first things people are often told about AS is that it is an incurable, progressive disease. We arrive home from diagnosis and start searching information about progression, loss of mobility, spinal fusion and disability.
Finding the upside can be challenging, especially when you’re lost in a world of pain, brain fog and overwhelm.
Do you find yourself worrying about your future with AS?
It’s not uncommon for people with chronic illness to hold a lot of fear around disease progression, and how that could in turn affect independence, job security, relationships and general quality of life.
Working with a coach empowers clients to regain a sense of control in the face of an uncertain future.
Many of my clients find great value in spending time re-imagining a future they can look forward to. It takes courage to believe there are better days ahead but the reward is reclaiming that person you once wanted to be before AS stopped you in your tracks.
I often use the term “realistic optimism”, which I borrowed from positive psychologist Shawn Achor. He defines it as “a realistic assessment of the present, while maintaining a belief that our behaviour will eventually create a better reality.”
The important bit there refers to taking action, not just sitting about dreaming about the possibility of better days ahead.
The action stage is where the coaching process becomes invaluable.
It enables you to figure out a practical course of action aimed at slowing or even halting disease progression. You decide the direction to take and the boundaries to set as you create a customised plan to move forward.
Change takes courage and requires patience. As a coach I will often remind clients of the strengths they possess and the past experiences they can draw on to get through difficult times.
Why don’t I just tell you what to do?
Clients often want to know what I’ve done to reduce my disease activity. I’m happy to share, but I always do so with the disclaimer that what has worked for me may not be right for you.
It’s easy to think other people have all the answers, but the reality is no one else is quite like you. You and I might share a diagnosis but we have different bodies, environments, values and concerns. If I wrote a lifestyle prescription for you I guarantee it would never be as effective or motivating as the one you could write for yourself.
Designing your own blue print for a better life with AS means you decide what you are willing to commit to and how you will make changes. You become accountable only to yourself, spurred on by the vision you have created for a better life ahead.
What’s coming up for you as you read this?
Can you think of some steps you’ve considered but never followed up on?
Maybe you’d like to try some of the dietary changes you’ve read about?
Maybe that medication your doctor suggested is worth another look?
If you’re ready to take back some control and re-imagine your future I’d love to chat with you about it and help you make it a reality.