Having AS has presented many opportunities for me to throw up my hands and give in to my disease. I know that if I do this it WILL get the best of me and staying positive is the only way to move forward. I know I must live “with” AS but refuse to ever live “for” it. I may not be able to completely control what will happen. Will I ever live pain-free? Will I completely fuse? Why me? So many questions run through my head as they do for many AS patients. We MUST all realize how strong we are! We may no longer have the physical strength but our mind and hearts must stay strong and never give up.

I put together a list of “I CANS” about a year after my diagnosis and I thought I would share it with everyone. I will admit that the first year of my diagnosis was one of shock and lack of acceptance. I quickly learned that I wanted more than just to be a person with this disease and that is when I chose to battle Ankylosing Spondylitis head on. My hope for you is that some items will help inspire you to stay strong and continue moving forward.

  1. I CAN live life with AS
  2. I CAN be thankful for my husband’s support
  3. I CAN hug and kiss my children daily even if it means not being a hard squeeze every day
  4. I CAN be strong even if my physical body is not
  5. I CAN be beautiful even with thinning hair and bruises
  6. I CAN smile at others
  7. I CAN love God and know he is there for me
  8. I CAN envy the “healthy” without being critical
  9. I CAN do something even if I cannot do everything
  10. I CAN love with all my heart
  11. I CAN help others even when I feel helpless
  12. I CAN and will be my biggest advocate
  13. I CAN accept I have Ankylosing Spondylitis
  14. I CAN be afraid of what will happen
  15. I CAN be okay with not having all the answers
  16. I CAN have less painful days
  17. I CAN cry
  18. I CAN wonder why me
  19. I CAN stay positive
  20. I CAN inspire and be inspired
  21. I CAN be a fighter
  22. I CAN learn as much as possible about AS
  23. I CAN have a successful future
  24. I CAN share my AS story and experience
  25. I CAN help spread AS awareness


  • Sandy gale says:

    What a powerful and inspiring list Mandy! I’m sure you are helping so many others!…So proud of you and THANKFUL to have had you for a friend for the last (almost) 30 years!…and looking forward to 30 more (or more than 30!)!!! Love you!

    • admin says:

      Sandy – You are an amazing person and your words mean so much to me! It’s crazy that after almost 30 yrs of friendship you are still one of my biggest supporters and I realize how lucky I am to have you in my life! Love you! You mean the world to me! xoxo

  • Pauline says:

    My daughter was diagnosed a year ago also, and is just starting to come to terms with it. God bless you for your honesty and remember that we are on this earth to help each other. I wish you peace on your journey

    • admin says:

      Pauline- I wish all the best to your daughter, and to you. It really was hard for me to accept having AS. I didn’t like that something could possibly try to control me (as silly as that may sound), but once I did is when I set out to learn as much as possible about AS. Thank you so much for your support!

  • M. Smith says:

    Bravo! Great list! May I share a link with this on the Spondyville Facebook page?

    • admin says:

      Thank you so much! I would be honored if you would share the link on Spondyville’s facebook page. I am a daily follower of the Spondyville facebook page. I enjoy seeing where the snowman visits 🙂 Thank you for the support!

  • Mirek F. says:

    That is really lovely but as well very powerful inspiration for all of us, Yes we can, in our case it is not an empty can only, we all are able to do many unbelievable things to have full-value lives! Let us go on! Mirek

    • admin says:

      Mirek – I really do believe optimism is important when it comes to AS. I can remember when I was first diagnosed how hopeless I felt. To be honest, I can still have some down days but I just push on. It was not until I met/spoke w/others that had AS also that I really felt I was going to make it and that having AS does not define me. Wishing you a pain-free day!

  • Hedy says:

    What an Inspiring story!! It’s so good to know we’re not alone, and that we can help each other. I was diagnosed 6 years ago.
    I wish you a pain free day.

  • Timi Shurley says:

    I love it !! So inspiring.. I need to post that on my mirror, in my car, in my office, etc…

  • Lisa says:

    Good For You! Way To Go!

  • Kevin says:

    A person like myself well done Ive been suffering 49 years diagnosed 26 posotive attitude is the best way to go good luck keep it up.


    • admin says:

      Kevin – I am sorry to hear you have been suffering for so long. I am glad to hear that after 49 yrs you agree that the positive attitude pays off. Being that this is just the beginning of my AS adventure (diagnosed in 2008) I really value the words of other AS’ers experience and advice. I really appreciate your support!

  • Loren says:

    Thanks for posting this. Can be very trying and frustrating. Sometimes I just have to laugh at my plight. It can take quite awhile to do anything, at times I will forget what it was that I set out to do!Getting dressed, dropping things Its an adventure/ not a cocktail party! The enjoyment started in 1976 and knew what it was Feb, 2010. Easier to smile than frown:) Loren

  • Vic says:

    I especially like #20

  • Julie says:

    This list is so inspiring and validating at the same time. With so many negative perspectives on AS, it’s just what I need to read when I get a flare up and all the bad times gel into one and I start losing hope for a pain-free day. Thanks for having the courage to create this wonderful website!

  • Rich says:

    After finally being properly diagnosed 11 yrs. with AS your story (after a life time of pain and suffering) sums up the new reality for me just wonderfully . I especially like #21 and #25. Again “Thank You”.

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