A birthday cake with sad faces sits with a slice cut from it, confetti, and party hats, celebrating pain anniversary

My 3 Year Painiversary

You might be asking yourself, “What the heck is a painiversary?” I’m here to tell you! I started the tradition back in 2018 to honor the day that my symptoms started. Mine is February 11, 2017, so this year marks my 3 years experiencing AS pain.

I know not everyone’s symptoms start on a specific day and kind of develop over time. Mine started when I woke up that day and never went away.

It doesn’t have to be somber

I understand that realizing the amount of time you’ve been in pain can be kind of depressing. It doesn’t have to stay that way forever, though. Yes, I’ve lost a lot over the years from having AS, but I’ve also gained a lot!

Your painiversary can be a moment of reflection. To see how far you’ve come and how strong you are from it! We are all AS and AxSpA warriors whether you feel like it today or not. We all have our own journey and we don’t have to be miserable forever!

What I do every year

Every year on February 11, I bake a cake. I’m not sure why or how this started, but I’m here now and I’m baking my third cake. I’m not necessarily saying that being in pain should be celebrated, but I feel like we go through enough negativity that we sometimes need good things, too. We need some positivity and a little sweetness added to our day every so often.

My first cake said, “Happy Painiversary” with sad faces all over it. My second said, “AS 2 Years”. This year, just a simple “3” with 3 gold candles. Last year I tried to make my own vegan cake and it didn’t go well. So this year I stuck with the boxed cake mix.

I made a 2 layer chocolate and vanilla cake this year. It turned out really well and it’s almost all gone on the first day! I’m not usually good at making cakes, but this one turned out really well.

Take time to remember the previous years

Taking the time to sit back and remember the past years of your journey is important to do sometimes. I sometimes get so wrapped up in all of the bad things going on in my body that I forget to appreciate how far I’ve come and how strong I really am. My friend is really good at reminding me of that.

We are all a lot stronger than we’d like to admit and we go through things every day that no one even knows about. We experience pain and discomfort that others will never understand. And we stay quiet a lot of the time not to bother those around us. Our pain is invisible, and we choose to keep fighting every day.


Do you have any traditions to celebrate how long you’ve been fighting AS? Or do you plan on starting some now?

Leave a comment, either way! I’d love to learn some new traditions to try out for my fourth painiversary!

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