Letters to the Editor

A life-changing disease

I, too, have juvenile rheumatoid arthritis and have comments regarding living with it.

I was diagnosed two years ago at the age of 14, so the idea that it goes away before puberty is false. I thought it was just a dance injury to my knee, but after many doctor’s visits found that to be false. At my age I will most likely live with it the rest of my life.

It’s encouraging to hear that this 7-year-old girl is going out and playing baseball, but for someone who got it later in life, it took away most of the physical activities I used to enjoy. I used to be a part of the local ballet company Aria, which performs ballet, pointe work, jazz, modern and character dance pieces. In junior high, I was also on the school dance team, hoping to go on to high school doing the same. Because I now have arthritis, I can no longer participate in dance. I also no longer take PE. Riding a bike is even more difficult than previously because my knees are so affected that they may feel fine during or after a bike ride, but I may regret it later because they ache. To help the pain I take many medications, which I call my personal pharmacy. Some are directly to help the arthritis, while others counteract some of the side-effects from the medications, not to mention the three shots I get at home in one week.

I hope that I have made more people aware of how life-changing this disease is. I do my best, but sometimes that’s not being able to physically do a lot.

Jessica McKell

Federal Way

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