My name is Allie Dewey, I am 19 years old and I have JIA (Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis).
I was diagnosed with arthritis when I was 11 years old and it has been a difficult journey over the past 8 years. Trying to understand this disease and how it affects my body, especially as an athlete, it is a challenge I never thought I would have to face. Understanding how this disease will affect my future is a hard thing to understand. I have tried a couple medications, but I am happy with the one I am taking now. I currently take Leflunomide pills once a day, everyday. I don’t mind taking the pills because I do not feel the side affects that I did when I took my old medication, Methotrexate. Before I switched to Leflunomide, I was miserable due to the side affects of Methotrexate. With the seven pills i took every week of Methotrexate, i felt sick more than I felt well. Even thinking about it years later, I still feel sick to my stomach. I was always tired, I constantly felt nauseous, and I slept any moment I got to avoid feeling so ill. With Methotrexate, I maxed out on the oral dosage so I was changed to injections once a week. Having the injection once a week over a year give or take, was a rather traumatic experience for me. It has been about six years since I had Methotrexate injections and I still feel nauseous when I see the specific yellow colour of the medication, and I still feel sick to my stomach when a person touches the back of my arm (the injection site). I am thankful for the amazing specialists that have found a treatment drug that is working for me so far. I’m happy I no longer experience those gruesome side affects.
Trying to explain all the affects of having arthritis is a difficult task as it is a disease that you can’t always see. Daily tasks can be challenge during a bad flair up, from eating to getting dressed. I used to be asked why I am so tired or why I never feel good, but those questions are difficult to answer because many people will not understand. Fortunately, many of my friends now realize what I have to face everyday. Most people think that arthritis is when someone’s joints hurt, but it is much more complex than that. Arthritis can affect people in many different ways. It is a disease with many different physical, mental, and emotional aspects. I had to take strong medications that made me feel sick, I am sore a lot and I deal with the anxieties and mental stress that comes with this disease.
This will be my 6th year participating in the Arthritis Walk. I have been fortunate to have my soccer team walk with me for a few of those years to show their support due to having tournaments in Edmonton the same weekend. I am thankful to have such supportive family, teammates, friends, and coaches... I would not be as strong without them.
Thank you for reading my story and supporting the Arthritis Society in the Walk To Fight Arthritis.
“Each of us is strong — Together we are stronger still”
Polyarticular arthritis, rheumatoid factor positive. Affects about 15% of kids with polyarticular arthritis or about 3% of all children with JIA. This type of JIA behaves the most like adult rheumatoid arthritis, and kids are at a higher risk of joint damage with erosions than in the other forms of JIA... this is the form of arthritis I have.
There is no cure for arthritis – a painful and devastating disease - that is why I am participating in the Walk for Arthritis.
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 solutions that will deliver better health outcomes for people affected by arthritis.
Please join me in supporting this important cause.
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