As told by Kids Get Arthritis Too
When I was 2, I was diagnosed with systemic JRA. At the time it was really hard for my parents because they couldn't figure out what was going on with me. I went to a host of doctors and it wasn't till I arrived at CHLA that I found the help I needed. My arthritis had begun to affect my wrists, knees, fingers and toes. I went through 2 years of physical therapy and a ton of blood work. Then my flare up went back into remission. I was back to normal and could do the things my other classmates were able to do. By high school, I got into horseback riding. I began taking lessons and volunteering at Ride On, a place for children and adults with mental and physical disabilities. Immediately I knew that I found a love for my horses and for the children that come in every Saturday morning. That's when I started to flare up again. My arthritis came back and it was worse than before. I was re-diagnosed with polyarticular arthritis. I couldn't explain what was going on with my body because I didn't know what was going on. Everything hurt and I was in a lot of pain. My friends started to think I was a crippled because my hips and knees hurt so badly and I started limping around school. My doctor started me on Methotrexate and Naproxen along with some other stuff and it's been helping me feel so much better. But my friends still see me as a person with an "old person's disease." My mom actually showed me Arthritis in Children. I saw people who were going through the same thing as I was and found so much comfort, reading their stories. Arthritis may come up but it doesn't control me. My JRA will always be with me and I've learned to embrace rather than fight it. There are times when I will have good days, weeks, months, years, and then there are times when I will not have my good days. But that doesn't stop me from doing what I love and going to school.