I am the founder of the nonprofit Support Our Arthritic Kids, Inc. and I would like your support ~This all happened suddenly when my husband was deployed in 2009-2010. It was very hard on him, and I didn’t tell him the full story until he returned home.Information about an associates degree in nursing online is available via this resource for those of you who want a career helping kids to live healthy lives.
My daughter, Catherine has always been an energetic child, very active and constantly in motion. In 2008 she was on a Competition Mini Cheerleading Squad, competing at different competitions across the US. In May 2009, Catherine’s dad deployed to Iraq and Catherine started getting very high fevers and a couple of sore throats. Her fevers would be high around 103 degrees one night and gone the next. She had difficulty getting out of bed in the morning, could not navigate a single flight of stairs, and would often wake up complaining from the pain in her legs. She constantly complained of her knee hurting. I thought it was growing pains and dismissed it. A couple of months later after cheer leading camp her knee became swollen and we thought she injured it there but she hadn’t performed any stunts. Fast forward to a year later Catherine has since been diagnosed with Pauci-articular Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis it affects her right knee, right ankle and right jaw. She has had 3 joint injection procedures, is on a chemo-therapy drug called methothrexate and is in the process of starting Enbrel to help control her arthritis. Catherine developed a sensitivity to light in November, and we were referred to the ophthalmologist. She was treated with a steroid drop to both eyes and now we are seen every 3 months to make sure the disease does not affect her eyes. Later this month, she will have a joint injection procedure preformed on her right jaw. So far Catherine gets nauseated and usually has an upset stomach immediately following her injections and for the next few days. Dr. Stein is hoping for a “clinical remission”, meaning that the disease appears dormant with regular medication. Our hope is that Catherine can achieve a full remission once the medications have been tapered off. Throughout this past year Catherine has remained resilient and her spirit has never been broken.
Through our journey of this horrible disease, Catherine and I have learned that not many children are affected by this, or at least they don’t know they might have this disease. We have learned that it can affect more than your joints, it can affect your organs and eyes.
We have started a support group on Fort Bragg, to reach out to other parents who might be going through this or in a similar situation. In August 2010, after talking to family, I felt a need to create a non-profit group to support our children, Support Our Arthritic Kids, Inc. Not only has deployment affected my daughter but this horrible disease has too, and it has been extremely difficult to watch her have stop cheerleading which took her mind off her dad’s deployment. Now we are on a different journey that Catherine has been excited to participate in, she is very informed about her illness and what she can and can’t do. On Oct 12, World Arthritis Day Catherine helped pass out fliers and pamphlets about Juvenile Arthritis.