“My child has arthritis? Isn’t that an old person’s disease?” Many people do not think that arthritis can occur in children and so many children experience pain for months or years before the diagnosis of arthritis is made and treatment begun. Children with arthritis frequently experience difficulty because it is not understood that children […]
I Live With Juvenile Arthritis
I am sharing this blog written by AutoImmune Chronicles because I know how little people understand about Juvenile Arthritis (JA), if they even know that it exists at all. It does exist and I am living proof of that fact. When I first got sick my doctor’s had no clue what was wrong with me. They thought that I would eventually get better so they just watched me closely. As months went by and I got sicker they finally started doing more and more tests to find the problem. It took them well over a year to find the right diagnosis. This was all in the 1980’s and back then there was little that the doctors could to help me and they did not know what it could do to me as an adult, if anything. They told my parents that it could just go away on its own but it could come back as an adult. Well, mine stayed with me.
I was diagnosed at the age of 9 with Juvenile Arthritis. Before my diagnosis I was extremely ill for months and was unable to walk at all for a while. Today, I still suffer from JA as well as several other Autoimmune Diseases, Fibromyalgia and Peripheral Neuropathy. I got very lucky in the sense that I have not had to have any joint replacements as of yet at the age of 37. However, the joints in my right foot have nearly completely deteriorated and I am unable to walk without something supporting my foot as the pain is unbearable when all of the bones and joints in my foot shift and grind together when I walk. Again, I am very lucky in this whole battle. My JA affects almost all of my joints but I have learned to live with it as I am sure that others like me have done the same.
Today health professionals that study this kind of disease know that when a person grows up with JA, they are more likely to have other Autoimmune Diseases to develop later in life. They know that JA may be a little better when the person is in their teens but as an adult they will still suffer with it. I wish that we had known all of this when I was younger so that we could be prepared for all that is happening now. I want to thank AutoImmune Chronicles for bringing this issue to the forefront. It is one that people should know about and understand. It is one that affects more children and their families than we realize and sharing information on this issue can only help in the fight against it.