Please support me and the Arthritis Society as I walk to represent all kids who have Juvenile Arthritis. because there is no cure for arthritis and it can be a painful and devastating disease. I want to share my story to bring awareness that Kids Get Arthritis Too!
Before I was diagnosed in May 2017 at 14 years old, I had no idea that Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis even was a thing and neither did my mom. Now I am almost 17 and I have learned so much about athritis. It began with my ankles being really sore in the mornings, making it painful when I walked. After that, my thumb became so inflamed and swollen that I could not bend it at all. After going to the doctor we started noticing my other fingers were very thick and swollen as well. My thumb wasn't really painful at the time but we couldn't understand what was causing it. The doctor mentioned arthritis as a possibility and that she would do some blood tests to check my ANA and RF levels and sure enough it came back with positive ANA and a high RF factor. We were referred to Sick Kids for further testing and began the journey of reading everything and anything we could get our hands on. The swelling began to affect multiple joints. My fingers, feet and wrist was the worst. It began to cause some pain but more of an uncomfortable feeling since everything was so swollen. During my worst flare, I had a hard time holding a pencil for long and it became hard to tie my shoes and open jars and door handles. I realized that is was a flare and since then I've had a few. I had an injection in my wrist with hopes that it would help but it it didn't. Over time I've been on multiple medicines including Methotrexate injections (a low dose chemotherapy drug) and it was the WORST! Although it began to take some of the inflammation away it made me feel horrible. I wanted to throw up every single time I even thought of it. It became too much and the doctors switched me to Enbrel, a biologic injection. This was better although it is much more painful then all of the other needles that I have had. Iv'e started to become used to it and can tolerate the pain of the needle now, but it still sucks. Along with this I take other meds too.
After feeling overall crummy for quite a while we talked to my doctor about medical CBD oil after seeing so many success stories, especially Coltyn Turner. This was a crazy idea, but I began to think it was worth a try. We were able to get a referral to a medical cannabis clinic and began the unthinkable. It was so gross! We figured we'd give it a good try over a month and see what happened. My mom kind of doubted that it was worth it but we began monitoring how I was feeling and sure enough I began having days with more energy, better moods and less achiness! It was working! We began to order it monthly and to this day I know it helps. It is not by any means a cure but it definatley helps.
Today I am doing ok. I am not currently in a flare and haven't been in a little while although my fingers are quite swollen. I continue with life the best I can and do not let it stop me from doing anything I want to do. I am still active in physical activities and just going into track and field season with determination to make it to OFFSA for javelin. I am looking forward to the summer months of paddle boarding and am signed up for the Tough Mudder in September! That will be a test! I continue with horseback riding and many hours of volunteering in as many ways as I can.
I am looking forward to Camp Cambria Arthritis Camp this summer where I hope to finally meet other kids who get it! And where I can begin to help other kids who could use a friend or mentor.
Today, more than 6 million Canadians are affected by arthritis. These numbers are only going to increase. By 2035, 1 in 4 Canadians will have arthritis. That means you or your wife, your mother or your brother just may have arthritis. As the prevalence of arthritis increases, so does the demand for investment into cutting-edge research, proactive advocacy and innovative information and support that will deliver better health outcomes for people affected by arthritis.
This year the Walk for Arthritis is celebrating its 10th year - help make this the best year ever by making a donation to support this important cause!
Thank you for reading my story,