There are days that I either don’t mentally feel like exercising, or that physically, my body doesn’t want me to. With ankylosing spondylitis, every day is an adventure. Some days, I don’t have much pain to begin with, but a simple thing like turning or reaching, etc, can trigger an angry response, anywhere from my low back to my neck or shoulder. Today was one of those days. After heated internal discussion with the other person living in my head, I pushed myself to the gym, and worked out. It wasn’t one of my best exercise days, but I stuck with it, and ended up pretty well satisfied with myself. The pain in my shoulder-blade is still there, but my heart, lungs, and core muscles got what they deserved; so did my head. The point I’m trying to make is that something is better than nothing, always. Keep pushing yourself. You have to get out of your comfort zone in order to make the comfort zone what it is (hey, that’s kind of zen-like).

On another note, I saw a patient today that recently returned from a short stay in the hospital. He had severe abdominal pain, and very dark, almost black urine. He was diagnosed with diverticulosis, a painful condition in which a pouch or pouches form in the walls of the large intestine. It can be a life-threatening condition. I know it sounds disgusting, but you  need to look at your urine and feces. There are several medical conditions any changes in the two may indicate. Sometimes they are benign, being caused by foods or heavy use of multivitamins. Other times they may be from potentially harmful causes. Consumer Reports ‘On Health’ edition this month takes a look at understanding changes in your urine and stools. Anything dark, black, red, cloudy, or oily yellow stools throws up a red flag (If your stools are marble-sized and float, and you have no other symptoms like fever or pain, chances are you’re dehydrated). If your urine is smoky-brown, orange, cranberry colored, or greenish,  see your doctor, pronto.

Stay well, John R Blilie, M.S.