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Savannah N., Age 10

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Savannah N.

People often ask about Savannah's diagnosis with juvenile arthritis ... how it came about, her symptoms and so on. I started a private blog a couple of years ago – hopeforsavavannah.blogspot.com

Thank you for taking this journey with us and praying for our girl. We take one day at a time and enjoy as many moments as possible!

So, I share the beginning –

On August 23, 2011, at the age of eight years old, Savannah was diagnosed with polyarticular juvenile arthritis (polyarticular means it affects five or more joints in the first six months of the disease). Just six days later, a uveitis cell (arthritis in the eye) was found in Savannah’s right eye. However, this is not where Savannah’s journey with juvenile arthritis begins.

At the age of four, Savannah had a difficult time writing, coloring, and especially cutting with scissors. We were told, by Savannah’s pediatrician, that it was “delayed motor skills” and to “seek occupational therapy.” Occupational therapy was given in kindergarten, first and second grade. There were small improvements, but the pain in her hands and difficulty writing and cutting never went away. Savannah kept trying, she kept persevering.

At the age of seven and the end of her first grade year in school, Savannah discovered a deep love for soccer. Her first season was wonderful ... pure excitement and fun! By second grade, she played both fall and spring leagues. Her feet were hurting as she practiced and played in the fall season. We attributed it to her being out of shape or her soccer cleats not fitting properly. By the spring of her second grade year, her feet hurt so badly after practices and games, her father often had to carry her off the field to the car. Still, she never missed a practice, nor a single game. We took her to an orthopedic surgeon. He took X-rays of her feet, gave her heel lifts for her soccer cleats and insoles for her tennis shoes and explained the pain was a result of being “slightly flat footed.”  

By the age of eight, Savannah no longer felt like running, walking or taking art classes. She didn’t feel like doing much of anything. She woke up many a morning complaining her feet hurt, though she had done nothing significant the day before.

On Savannah’s second day of school of her third grade year, Savannah and her classmates were asked by their teacher to write as many numbers as they could (starting with the number “1”) in a one minute period of time. Savannah picked up her pencil and wrote to the number “14” before she had to drop her pencil because of the SEVERE pain she felt in her fingers and hand. I took Savannah to her pediatrician the very next day. She recognized Savannah’s symptoms in her hands and feet, now, as being juvenile arthritis. And so, our journey began with this disease I did not even know existed, especially in children ... juvenile arthritis.

Savannah started on weekly methotrexate shots and Remicade infusions every four weeks.  She was switched from Remicade to Orencia after six months because of a major flare she had on Remicade. She remained on methotrexate and Orencia for another year in a half until little improvement was seen anymore.

Currently, Savannah is 10 1/2 years old and is on NO MEDS ... juvenile rheumatologist is trying to get a current baseline on Savannah. She is doing pretty well on no meds! She takes a multivitamin, Juice Plus, L-Glutamine, and probiotics every day ... . YES, I think supplements such as these make a difference! She does gymnastics (not competitively) for physical therapy...because this allows her to be with kids her age instead of a lot of the older generation at typical physical therapy clinics.

Things that help Savannah the most:

  • Using a rolling desk chair to get around in the mornings when her feet and ankles hurt the most.
  • Foam grips (found on Amazon) that can be cut to fit toothbrushes, hairbrush handles, eating utensils, and pens/pencils. These make a big difference when Savannah's arthritic hands really hurt.

We invite you to take this journey with us through pictures and words. However, I wish for no child to have to experience the pain that Savannah endures daily or the treatments she has to take to function as normally as possible. God is going to use this girl and her journey to touch many lives. May it touch yours.

Savannah's Short term goals (in her own words):

  •  I want to be able to write without my hand hurting. 
  •  I want to help raise awareness about juvenile arthritis.
  •  I want to know life without pain.

Savannah N.

People often ask about Savannah's diagnosis with juvenile arthritis ... how it came about, her symptoms and so on. I started a private blog a couple of years ago – hopeforsavavannah.blogspot.com

Thank you for taking this journey with us and praying for our girl. We take one day at a time and enjoy as many moments as possible!

So, I share the beginning –

On August 23, 2011, at the age of eight years old, Savannah was diagnosed with polyarticular juvenile arthritis (polyarticular means it affects five or more joints in the first six months of the disease). Just six days later, a uveitis cell (arthritis in the eye) was found in Savannah’s right eye. However, this is not where Savannah’s journey with juvenile arthritis begins.

At the age of four, Savannah had a difficult time writing, coloring, and especially cutting with scissors. We were told, by Savannah’s pediatrician, that it was “delayed motor skills” and to “seek occupational therapy.” Occupational therapy was given in kindergarten, first and second grade. There were small improvements, but the pain in her hands and difficulty writing and cutting never went away. Savannah kept trying, she kept persevering.

At the age of seven and the end of her first grade year in school, Savannah discovered a deep love for soccer. Her first season was wonderful ... pure excitement and fun! By second grade, she played both fall and spring leagues. Her feet were hurting as she practiced and played in the fall season. We attributed it to her being out of shape or her soccer cleats not fitting properly. By the spring of her second grade year, her feet hurt so badly after practices and games, her father often had to carry her off the field to the car. Still, she never missed a practice, nor a single game. We took her to an orthopedic surgeon. He took X-rays of her feet, gave her heel lifts for her soccer cleats and insoles for her tennis shoes and explained the pain was a result of being “slightly flat footed.”  

By the age of eight, Savannah no longer felt like running, walking or taking art classes. She didn’t feel like doing much of anything. She woke up many a morning complaining her feet hurt, though she had done nothing significant the day before.

On Savannah’s second day of school of her third grade year, Savannah and her classmates were asked by their teacher to write as many numbers as they could (starting with the number “1”) in a one minute period of time. Savannah picked up her pencil and wrote to the number “14” before she had to drop her pencil because of the SEVERE pain she felt in her fingers and hand. I took Savannah to her pediatrician the very next day. She recognized Savannah’s symptoms in her hands and feet, now, as being juvenile arthritis. And so, our journey began with this disease I did not even know existed, especially in children ... juvenile arthritis.

Savannah started on weekly methotrexate shots and Remicade infusions every four weeks.  She was switched from Remicade to Orencia after six months because of a major flare she had on Remicade. She remained on methotrexate and Orencia for another year in a half until little improvement was seen anymore.

Currently, Savannah is 10 1/2 years old and is on NO MEDS ... juvenile rheumatologist is trying to get a current baseline on Savannah. She is doing pretty well on no meds! She takes a multivitamin, Juice Plus, L-Glutamine, and probiotics every day ... . YES, I think supplements such as these make a difference! She does gymnastics (not competitively) for physical therapy...because this allows her to be with kids her age instead of a lot of the older generation at typical physical therapy clinics.

Things that help Savannah the most:

  • Using a rolling desk chair to get around in the mornings when her feet and ankles hurt the most.
  • Foam grips (found on Amazon) that can be cut to fit toothbrushes, hairbrush handles, eating utensils, and pens/pencils. These make a big difference when Savannah's arthritic hands really hurt.

We invite you to take this journey with us through pictures and words. However, I wish for no child to have to experience the pain that Savannah endures daily or the treatments she has to take to function as normally as possible. God is going to use this girl and her journey to touch many lives. May it touch yours.

Savannah's Short term goals (in her own words):

  •  I want to be able to write without my hand hurting. 
  •  I want to help raise awareness about juvenile arthritis.
  •  I want to know life without pain.
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