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Shannan, Age 15

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Shannan

I was newly 7 years old when I noticed my body was changing in painful ways you could never imagine. It felt like intense tightness, aching and horrible pain. My mother and father took me to a hospital in Colorado Springs. There they poked, pried, injected, and tested me in ways I never knew existed. All I wanted at that point was to feel healthy and safe again.

When I found out I had juvenile arthritis (JA) I was confused, yet happy I could finally go home and sleep in my own bed. I wanted to get out as soon as possible.

Later in life, I started to realize the real difficulty of having JA. I couldn't sit "crisscross-applesauce" like the other kids could. I wanted to run faster and play longer but the struggle was overwhelming.

Now, still with the same problems of not being able to go to amusement parks or even the mall with my friends because I can't endure pain like that from standing and walking for so long, I think to myself, “Wow will I ever be able to sit ‘crisscross-applesauce;’ can I ever feel new again?” The answer to my question is “no” and it will most likely never change. The reality of the word no is life altering and I wish for the word that could change my life for the better. I wish for “yes.” But it was and is “no.” Other words that haunt me are can't, won't, shouldn't and crippled. I still have trouble thinking about those words. I still cry at night because I can't do things others can.

I think to myself a lot about my disability and how it affects my life. To think about the better is the hard part. I make it through, I tell myself. I am stronger than most of my friends and I know that. You have to think about the better things in life. The trick is to look up not down, to keep the glass half full, and to take the road less traveled.

I’ve learned a lot from living with arthritis, and I will never forget my past and I will always look toward the adventures to come. My advice? Stay true to yourself, and remember it will be OK in the end, and if it's not OK, know that it's not the end.   


Shannan

I was newly 7 years old when I noticed my body was changing in painful ways you could never imagine. It felt like intense tightness, aching and horrible pain. My mother and father took me to a hospital in Colorado Springs. There they poked, pried, injected, and tested me in ways I never knew existed. All I wanted at that point was to feel healthy and safe again.

When I found out I had juvenile arthritis (JA) I was confused, yet happy I could finally go home and sleep in my own bed. I wanted to get out as soon as possible.

Later in life, I started to realize the real difficulty of having JA. I couldn't sit "crisscross-applesauce" like the other kids could. I wanted to run faster and play longer but the struggle was overwhelming.

Now, still with the same problems of not being able to go to amusement parks or even the mall with my friends because I can't endure pain like that from standing and walking for so long, I think to myself, “Wow will I ever be able to sit ‘crisscross-applesauce;’ can I ever feel new again?” The answer to my question is “no” and it will most likely never change. The reality of the word no is life altering and I wish for the word that could change my life for the better. I wish for “yes.” But it was and is “no.” Other words that haunt me are can't, won't, shouldn't and crippled. I still have trouble thinking about those words. I still cry at night because I can't do things others can.

I think to myself a lot about my disability and how it affects my life. To think about the better is the hard part. I make it through, I tell myself. I am stronger than most of my friends and I know that. You have to think about the better things in life. The trick is to look up not down, to keep the glass half full, and to take the road less traveled.

I’ve learned a lot from living with arthritis, and I will never forget my past and I will always look toward the adventures to come. My advice? Stay true to yourself, and remember it will be OK in the end, and if it's not OK, know that it's not the end.   

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