My journey and work of physical training and conditioning could have easily become just an extension of my own "weight lifting" -hobby without the ankylosing spondylitis. AS is an auto-immune condition that affects the spine, joints, eyes and unpredictably pretty much any body part. My condition started as frequent iritis, then became semi-chronic sacro-iliac inflammation, lower back pain and migrating muscle inflammation. It gave me a gift of empathy for others in pain and also a refreshed appreciation of just being able to move.
I learned that walking is not a less of a miracle than squatting a full rack of weights. Through the experience of ankylosing spondylitis my own exercise became a necessity even more than a passion and I gained a new perspective to life in general. I know now that the abundant grace of God will prevail and strengthen me even in the midst of sickness and adversity. But even more than just sustaining me, He is willing to heal, and in my case has already done so.
I look at the pain of a person differently through my own experience. Pain makes you consumed by your own situation, it makes you fearful of the future and it very often steals your joy and peace in the present time as well. At the same time, it helps you develop a new perspective, makes you cry out for God more and certainly shifts your priorities around. A lot of times the end result, learning lesson if you will, depends on our own response and attitude at the time of crisis and struggle.
In my work I aim to prevent pain with correct exercises and sometimes can even ease some discomfort that is already there, but as the Word says, God Almighty is the one who heals:
"Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits,
who forgives all your iniquity,
who heals all your diseases..."
Tommi The Trainer