“I was still a baby. I used to get these rashes all over my body. I’d get fevers all the time and had sore and swollen joints. My parents took me to different specialists and one of them was like, ‘This is Stills disease!” Today it’s called Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis. A form of arthritis that affects children. I always had a lot of different symptoms but mostly when I’m in a flare-up, I am basically useless. I’d have no energy to do anything at all. I remember being a child and playing outside and then all of a sudden not being able to play anymore. I would watch other children kneel while they played with such envy. I would spend hours in the sitting room practising hoping that I will able to do it one day. Being a mother of two children now makes life very challenging. My two-year-old knows that I can’t run after him, so he legs it off every time a door opens. Before having kids, I could just lay in bed for days but when you are running a household… it’s a different story. There were days when just pushing a pram would cause pain in my shoulders, I couldn’t change a nappy or get upstairs… I remember when my husband was working late one day, I got so desperate that I opened the front door to try and find someone who could help me take my children up to bed. After that, I knew I couldn’t do it alone. Through Arthritis Ireland I was able to apply for a social worker to help me out at home, which made everything much easier. In the meantime, I had some bad flare-ups so bad that I couldn’t even brush my hair or take a shower, so my mother became my career. Things have gotten better since, although I had to get two shoulder replacements to get to where I am today. It may all sound bad, but I am happy and grateful to my family and to God who helped me in the most challenging times. If I could go back, I would give myself the advice to not try to manage the impossible. It’s okay to ask for help. People need to know that Arthritis is not something that happens only to the elderly. Like with many other conditions it’s on a spectrum and we need more research and awareness which is why Arthritis Ireland’s work is so-so important.”
This post was highlighted by Arthritis Ireland This week is National Arthritis Week highlighting the importance of physical activity for people living with arthritis.
Anyone wishing to support Arthritis Ireland can do so by making a donation on its website.