Patient Blogs | Ankylosing Spondylitis
My Healing Began When I Accepted My Pain
photo of woman relaxing in sun by ocean

Many people ask how I stay so positive despite having a chronic disease that doesn’t have a cure. It wasn’t always that way. For a long time, I was a self-imposed prisoner to my pain, living in a dark, lonely, and isolated inner world.

Despite having the support of friends and family, the pain was my own private and personal experience. I had daily negative thoughts of victimhood and hated what my body had become -- broken and weak.

My main thought was: “Why is this disease happening to me?” 

I had been minding my own business, living my life with my young family, when the physical pain first reared its ugly head. At first, it was gradual. Then it became consistent, and eventually my world completely turned upside down.

I couldn’t understand what on Earth I did to deserve the debilitating pain I was suffering. I questioned myself constantly. I knew the pain wasn't in my head. My hip hurt too much to be imagined. 

What was very difficult was the cost of my relationship with my children when I was in so much pain. My kids are my pride and joy. I would fight a lion bare fisted if it meant keeping them safe.

When my life was pain free, we did so much as a family. One of my fondest memories was playing water football at the cottage, the boys against the girls. We laughed in the warm sunshine splashing in the cool lake water as we played.

But over time it got to the point where I couldn’t do those fun things anymore. That was mentally and emotionally very hard to accept.

My kids were very young and had no clue how much pain I was in. It hurt not being able to pick them up and give them extra big hugs like I used to. The hip pain was just too much and I didn’t want anyone touching me because the slightest touch was extremely painful. Giving birth to my two wonderful kids was a piece of cake compared to the hip pain I endured. 

Slowly I mentally deteriorated with negative thoughts comparing my old self with my new self. I didn’t like my new self.

But after my first hip surgery, my mentality slowly started to change. I woke up from surgery noticing something was different. The pain that was my constant uninvited companion was gone!

I’ll never forget that moment for as long as I live because it was the first time in years that I was pain free.

Pain has a way of turning you against yourself. You question your existence. It puts your mind into a thick fog, keeping you rooted in the past and in what could have been. There’s no concept of time because your mind is fixed on the pain and nothing else. 

But the fog slowly lifted and I saw the pain I went through from a different perspective. I began to ask myself many questions. My conclusion?

The searing pain happened FOR me. It may sound strange. But it wasn’t until I accepted the pain for what it was showing me could my healing journey really begin.

So what have I learned going through the worst pain of my life? It was a shocking event to get my attention so I could begin my journey of self-discovery. To learn about who I really am.

I thought that I was my pain instead of separate from it. That was my story for so many years. The pain finally made me aware that I was so much stronger than I gave myself credit for. I became:

  • Resilient
  • Hopeful
  • Empowered

The biggest thing I can tell anyone struggling with pain is when you accept your life and body the way it is now, then the healing work can truly begin. When you do, everything will change.

The pain I went through was essential so I could grow and evolve into a bigger version of myself.


Photo Credit: pixdeluxe via Getty Images

Tell us what you think of this post?
0 Like
0 Sad
0 Cheered up
0 Empowered
0 Care
WebMD Patient Blog © 2021 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

Important: The opinions expressed in WebMD Blogs are solely those of the User, who may or may not have medical or scientific training. These opinions do not represent the opinions of WebMD. Blogs are not reviewed by a WebMD physician or any member of the WebMD editorial staff for accuracy, balance, objectivity, or any other reason except for compliance with our Terms and Conditions. Some of these opinions may contain information about treatments or uses of drug products that have not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. WebMD does not endorse any specific product, service or treatment.

Do not consider WebMD Blogs as medical advice. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified healthcare provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your care plan or treatment. WebMD understands that reading individual, real-life experiences can be a helpful resource, but it is never a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a qualified health care provider. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or dial 911 immediately.

Lovaine Cohen

Lovaine Cohen

Diagnosed since 2001

Lovaine Cohen has lived with ankylosing spondylitis for over 20 years. A chronic pain coach, Lovaine helps women reduce pain with her Holistic Healing Method program and shares pain management and anxiety tips on her blog and on Instagram. Her loves include her two children in their early 20s, a rescue husky named Stella, and her husband of 28 years. Connect with Lovaine on Instagram.

Latest Blog Posts From Lovaine Cohen

Parenting With Ankylosing Spondylitis

Parenting With Ankylosing Spondylitis

My children were in grades 6 and 3 when I had hip replacement surgery. It was a very challenging time because I was in a lot of pain and not able to do much physically. ...

Read more
Complementary Therapies That Have Helped With My AS

Complementary Therapies That Have Helped With My AS

I received a diagnosis of ankylosing spondylitis over 20 years ago, and I was told by my doctor there was no cure. During my journey with AS, I’ve taken ...

Read more