My name is Kaajal Khangura and I am 18 years old. I was diagnosed with Juvenile Polyarticular Rheumatoid Factor Positive Arthritis at the age of 16. This type of arthritis causes inflammation in five or more joints in the first six months. I was also tested positive for rheumatoid factor which is in joints such as hands, feet, and knees.
The very first time I heard from a doctor that I could have arthritis she told me I wouldn’t be able to dance or live my “normal” life again. As a teenager hearing that was the scariest moment of my life, not knowing what was going to happen to me, not knowing how my life would end up, not knowing how and why this is happening to me. I still don’t understand why and how this happened to me and I probably never will, but it is something I have and something i am going to have to live with.
This condition changed my life, everyday tasks were now harder to do. Simple everyday tasks that we take for granted was something I wasn’t able to do without help. As a 16-year-old girl having my mom help me get ready, washing and tying up my hair everyday was discouraging. My parents would wake up in the middle of the night to me crying and screaming because I wasn’t able to get up out of bed or move my arm. There were nights I would lay in my bed crying hoping the pain would pass or silently scream though the pain to simply get up and go into my parent’s room so they could help me.
After getting treated for carpal tunnel (because that is what the doctors thought i had), having a loss of feelings in my hand and multiple flare ups which concluded in hospital visits to be sent home and doctors telling me they couldn’t help me and that they don’t know what I have. I got referred to multiple specialists testing me for all the possibilities that could be wrong. In March of 2015 i was refered to Childrens Hospital where i was disgnosed.
After being diagnosed I was put on multiple medication which equaled out to be 27 tablets a week. Which made me lose my energy, lose my appetite, and get nauseous which led me to stay in bed all weekend not being able to walk downstairs without losing my breath, my arthritis was under control. 1 month later I slowly stopped taking them and 2 months after that I could no longer stand the sight of the medication and stopped taking them all together without telling anybody and to this day I can no longer stand the sight of them. After I stopped taking them, a couple weeks later at my doctor’s appointment I had to tell my mom and doctors, and they were very supportive and tried making alternative options for me. Since taking tablets was no longer an option for me since I refused to take them I was put on an injection. I now get an injection weekly which I do on myself and slowly resenting them too, but I also know without them my arthritis wouldn’t be under control.
It is hard for any outside person to truly understand what someone with arthritis goes through. Arthritis is a disease that you can’t always see, so any outside person will think that the individual is fine and doesn’t know what they go through on a daily basis or went though. It is also hard to tell people, since they might look at you differently and change their opinion and thoughts on you.
This condition doesn’t just effect the individual themselves but as well as the family, especially when diagnosed as a child. The help and support from family members is crucial and without my family helping me get through my everyday life I wouldn’t have been able to do it. I’m able to do everyday tasks myself since my arthritis has been under control although I still feel pain daily.. With an altered life, and a couple changes to my everyday life and being careful about certain things my arthritis is manageable.
Arthritis is a disease no one can see, and that is why many people aren’t aware of it. It is also known as an “old people disease” which isn’t true and needs to change.
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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