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Cate M., Age 10

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Cate M.

Hi, my name is Cate. I have juvenile arthritis (JA). I found out that I had arthritis when I was 8, but I had symptoms since I was 2. At first my only symptom was limping on my left leg. My parents and I just thought that I walked and ran a little funny. Until one day, when I was putting the trash out, my dad saw that I was galloping instead of running. He took me to the doctor to see what was making me run that way. The doctor did some blood tests and soon found out that I had JA. At first I was worried, but I found out that I could take medicine to make it go away.  

Now I take 10mg of methotrexate every Saturday. It used to make me sick, but now that I have practice, I feel better about taking it. I also always do something fun right after I take it and I get 10 M&M’s (one for every pill). These things make it easier for me to take my medicine quickly and distract me before I start to feel sick.      

I do take swimming lessons because I think it is fun. It also lets me exercise, which helps my arthritis.  I am now in level 3 and I am in the 12-foot-deep pool. Sometimes my legs get tired from kicking so much, but I still like it. I push myself so that I can get to level 4.

A lot of the times my JA causes my body to hurt. Most of the time when I have pain, I try to distract myself from it, which helps me not notice my pain. I try to have fun even if I am hurting, which makes me feel better. Sometimes I play outside, read or play videogames. I also meet with a doctor who helps me learn different ways to relax and not feel so much pain.   

One of the hardest parts is telling my friends that I have JA. Sometimes they start to act differently, but I can tell them that I am just the same as them. One of the best things to do is to remember to tell them that it is not contagious because if you don’t, they might start avoiding you. In my school we have a program called Understanding Disabilities. One time we were studying arthritis and after we finished we were talking about it and my teacher said that she liked how one of the presenters had made a sheet to put up on the whiteboard so that he wouldn’t have to say that he had arthritis. I said that I agreed with him that one of the hardest things is telling people about it. Then I told my teacher and all of my class that I have JA.   

Sometimes I have to get shots and blood tests. A lot of the time the worst part is waiting or learning that it will happen soon. You never will enjoy it, but you can get better at it so it doesn’t hurt quite as much and you won’t worry as much. My Buzzy is a pretend bee that vibrates when you push a button. It confuses your brain so you feel the vibration, not the shot or blood test. You could also use ice with my Buzzy to make it numb so it won’t hurt as much.

In Massachusetts sometimes there are Arthritis walks. The one I go to is in Boston. There are other kids with arthritis there, too. You donate lots of money to scientists to come up with a faster and better way to cure arthritis. In 2012, I donated 100 dollars for a better cure. I hope to the walk this year. It is really fun to be there. There is a giant sand bag with a lot of balloons.

A lot of the time you can feel like you’re the only kid with JA. But, really there are lots of kids who have it. There are Arthritis Camps like Camp Dartmouth-Hitchcock and many others, where there are other kids with JA. You get to do outdoor activities. I haven’t been yet, but I plan to go this August and I am excited to go. I think I will enjoy being with kids my age who also have JA. It will be nice to be with other kids because it makes you feel like you aren’t different. Of course, you aren’t really different, but it can feel that way sometimes.


Cate M.

Hi, my name is Cate. I have juvenile arthritis (JA). I found out that I had arthritis when I was 8, but I had symptoms since I was 2. At first my only symptom was limping on my left leg. My parents and I just thought that I walked and ran a little funny. Until one day, when I was putting the trash out, my dad saw that I was galloping instead of running. He took me to the doctor to see what was making me run that way. The doctor did some blood tests and soon found out that I had JA. At first I was worried, but I found out that I could take medicine to make it go away.  

Now I take 10mg of methotrexate every Saturday. It used to make me sick, but now that I have practice, I feel better about taking it. I also always do something fun right after I take it and I get 10 M&M’s (one for every pill). These things make it easier for me to take my medicine quickly and distract me before I start to feel sick.      

I do take swimming lessons because I think it is fun. It also lets me exercise, which helps my arthritis.  I am now in level 3 and I am in the 12-foot-deep pool. Sometimes my legs get tired from kicking so much, but I still like it. I push myself so that I can get to level 4.

A lot of the times my JA causes my body to hurt. Most of the time when I have pain, I try to distract myself from it, which helps me not notice my pain. I try to have fun even if I am hurting, which makes me feel better. Sometimes I play outside, read or play videogames. I also meet with a doctor who helps me learn different ways to relax and not feel so much pain.   

One of the hardest parts is telling my friends that I have JA. Sometimes they start to act differently, but I can tell them that I am just the same as them. One of the best things to do is to remember to tell them that it is not contagious because if you don’t, they might start avoiding you. In my school we have a program called Understanding Disabilities. One time we were studying arthritis and after we finished we were talking about it and my teacher said that she liked how one of the presenters had made a sheet to put up on the whiteboard so that he wouldn’t have to say that he had arthritis. I said that I agreed with him that one of the hardest things is telling people about it. Then I told my teacher and all of my class that I have JA.   

Sometimes I have to get shots and blood tests. A lot of the time the worst part is waiting or learning that it will happen soon. You never will enjoy it, but you can get better at it so it doesn’t hurt quite as much and you won’t worry as much. My Buzzy is a pretend bee that vibrates when you push a button. It confuses your brain so you feel the vibration, not the shot or blood test. You could also use ice with my Buzzy to make it numb so it won’t hurt as much.

In Massachusetts sometimes there are Arthritis walks. The one I go to is in Boston. There are other kids with arthritis there, too. You donate lots of money to scientists to come up with a faster and better way to cure arthritis. In 2012, I donated 100 dollars for a better cure. I hope to the walk this year. It is really fun to be there. There is a giant sand bag with a lot of balloons.

A lot of the time you can feel like you’re the only kid with JA. But, really there are lots of kids who have it. There are Arthritis Camps like Camp Dartmouth-Hitchcock and many others, where there are other kids with JA. You get to do outdoor activities. I haven’t been yet, but I plan to go this August and I am excited to go. I think I will enjoy being with kids my age who also have JA. It will be nice to be with other kids because it makes you feel like you aren’t different. Of course, you aren’t really different, but it can feel that way sometimes.

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