Everybody has good days and bad days when they’re growing up. You don’t do well on a test. Someone’s not nice to you. You wish your ears hadn’t grown faster than the rest of your face.
But sometimes kids with JA have really bad days. Like Can’t-get-out-of-bed-really-painful days or Why-is-this-happening-to-me? days. So, on top of the worries about “Where will my locker be in my new middle school?” and “Please don’t let me get a zit now!” there are concerns about swollen knees, fevers, and fingers that hurt too much to hold a pencil.
Here are some “bad days” in kids’ own words:
“I get tired of arthritis. Sometimes I have to catch up in school because I am either at the doctor’s or I am at home in bed with swelled up knees or feet.” – Jordan D., 9
“I can't play basketball anymore because I can't run or I'm in pain. I feel like I'm losing my friends because I'm never at school. It's hard … I miss lots of days of school because I can't sit on my bottom or my back hurts.” – Natasha C., 13
“Before I found out I had JIA I was sick as dog. I was tired every day. I was so tired one day I was asleep for 17 hours!” – Savannah, 10
And here are some “good days”:
“I have learned that there are many different kinds of arthritis. I am very thankful the type I have is manageable. I am a cheerleader and soccer player today. I love my doctors and how they have helped me.” – Paige B., 12
“People are surprised when I tell them that I have arthritis because I don’t look very different than other kids. But unlike other kids, I take a cancer drug every week plus daily medication to control my arthritis and it helps me try and lead a normal kid life." – Mikayla, 10
But most days are in-between days:
“Things aren't perfect. I still have days where I feel really lousy, and I have some pain regularly, but it's a lot better. Right now, I'm trying my best to forget the pain. I'm just like a normal kid, only with arthritis.” – Lindsay G., 12