Mick Mars has battled with a form of arthritis called 'ankylosing spondylitis' for decades. Ankylosing spondylitis is no joke, folks. As a retired registered nurse, I know this, but I first learned of the disease as a child when my mother would tell stories about her father who had the condition. My maternal grandfather spent the last several years of his life in a hospital bed in the living room of my mother's childhood home because he was immobile.
My grandfather died before I was born, so I never met him, but I've seen photos. Pictures from my mother's wedding to my father, just a couple of years before my grandfather passed away, reveal that my grandfather was stooped at an almost ninety-degree angle. The arthritis had seized his spinal column so fiercely that his torso was almost parallel to the ground.
So how in the bloody hell has Mick Mars, who has had this form of arthritis since the age of 17, been able to have a career where he performed for decades in front of thousands of people a night after sitting on a bus or plane for several hours? Not knowing Mick Mars, I can't answer this question, but I do know that he is one tough mother****er to have endured (and is still enduring) that level of pain and stress on his body for as long as he has.
But here's the real challenge with chronic illnesses like ankylosing spondylitis: anxiety and depression. Depending on the disease, anxiety and depression can affect as many as fifty percent of patients with chronic illness. That's a lot, to say the least.
I have two chronic illnesses that are in remission: multiple sclerosis (MS) and cancer. When I was diagnosed with MS in my mid-thirties, I was definitely anxious and depressed. Hell, my (only) marriage fell apart due to it. I was put on medication for awhile (and attended therapy), but with the cancer, which occurred just a few years ago, I didn't get depressed, but I was scared sh**less, which definitely ticked the box in the anxiety column.
My point to this is that I understand chronic illness from a personal perspective, and thus can totally relate to the challenges Mick Mars has faced. The strife that this man has endured to become one of the world's greatest rock guitarists is astounding to me. Truly astounding.
And here's the real kicker (or kickstarter, I should say...Crue-heads will get the partial reference): Mick Mars is 72 years old and is still rockin’ today with a body that betrayed him decades ago. But this hasn’t stopped him from being one of the greatest musicians of all time!