Ask me what my dream is, and I don't hesitate to say to become an author. I look like any 12-year-old girl, but I'm not. I have juvenile arthritis. My journey with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis began when I was 4. My mother noticed that I would often complain that my knees hurt. I would wake up in the middle of the night crying, and complaining of knee pain. She took me to a doctor, who did some blood work, and sent us home. The next day, we got a call saying I had an auto-immune disorder. We went to see a rheumatologist at our local Children's Hospital. It took about 1 1/2 years to diagnose me, because the type of arthritis that I have doesn't cause my joints to get very swollen, and red like some. Doctors’ appointments, blood work, and x-rays became a routine, even to a 4-year-old. I was finally diagnosed when I was 6. I took all kinds of medications, but they didn't seem to help. It felt like every time I went to the doctor, I was put on more medication, but it didn't help. We decided to switch me to a medication taken by injection weekly, it worked, but it didn't make me that happy. It helped for a little while, but then I got the flu, and things took a turn for the worse. Often times, after I get sick, my arthritis becomes worse for a little while. It's called a flare. However, this time the flare didn't pass. I was in a lot of pain for a long time. An MRI revealed that I now had a pain syndrome in addition to arthritis. Sometimes, when you have arthritis, after you have a flare, your nerves don't tell your brain the pain is gone, and the pain keeps happening. This is what happened to me. I was put on even more medications that helped, they didn't take all the pain away, but they did take a lot of it. I stopped taking the injection, and started monthly IV infusions of a medicine. It was the answer to our prayers! I stopped having unbearable pain because of the pain syndrome, and started to get my life back together again. Today, my arthritis affects my ankles, knees, hips, wrists, fingers, and thumbs. I take many pills daily, 1 weekly, and an IV infusion monthly. Things aren't perfect, I still have days where I feel really lousy, and I have some pain regularly, but it's a lot better. Right now, I'm trying my best to forget the pain. I'm just like a normal kid, only with arthritis. My advice to kids with arthritis is to stay strong. Remember that YOU have arthritis, arthritis doesn't have you! One day, they WILL find a cure for arthritis! Until then, just be a kid! You only live once, so enjoy it.