When You Feel No Pain

There are a few times when I feel almost no pain. First, when I’m very sick, like with an infection of some sort, I tend to experience a pause in my AS symptoms. It happens sort of gradually. This has happened when I’ve had COVID-19, shingles, and bronchitis.

It’s not as though all of a sudden the off-switch is hit, but there’s definitely a change in my immune function. It’s as if my immune system is busy focusing on other problems, like foreign invaders, or latent infection.

The pain and issues vanish

It’s as if the pain and mobility issues just sort of slowly vanish...into a memory. There isn’t a true a-ha moment. I don’t suddenly feel like an athlete, or like I can do back flips.

But it’s almost as if I just come to the realization, “I’m not in horrible pain.” It’s very much a vacancy, a lessening, a void where the pain once was, as if the pain is part of me, as if it was always meant to be, an arm I can feel. A heart that beats.

It's an emotional experience

Sometimes it makes me sad. To know that this is what I’ve lived like — pain-free — for years before I was diagnosed with AS.

Sometimes it makes me feel like what I imagine there’s must feel like. Aside from the random neck pain or back pain from sitting too long in a chair, people don’t just have pain all day.

Who I was before AS

All my other symptoms and issues sort of disappear too — eye issues, gut issues. The infection clicks a button and tells my immune system to show me who I was before AS.

So while I am sick with shingles or COVID-19, I don’t feel AS. In some ways it’s a gift. I don’t have to manage both at the same time. In some ways, it’s an ironic reminder that I’m different, that my body is different, that my body works in strange ways.

Can anybody relate to feeling little or no pain during a sickness or infection?

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