My Arthritis Story

I developed rheumatoid arthritis at the age of six.  I have polyarticular JRA (juvenile rheumatoid arthritis) which means that I have it in many of my joints.  I am particularly affected in my knees, wrists, hips, and ankles.  When I was young, my arthritis was much worse than it is today.  I experienced stiffness and pain daily.  Luckily, I was able to stay active and participate in lots of outdoor activities like hiking, skiing, and mountain biking because my parents were willing to do those activities at my pace.  My parent's patience and passion about doing things in the outdoors with me is a huge part of the reason that I was able to get my arthritis under control.

When I was a teenager, I finally got my arthritis under fairly good control with a good combination of drugs.  At this point, I was able to increase my activity level and live relatively pain free most of the time.  It wasn't until about five years ago, though that I got to the point that I am today.  At that time, I started taking a drug called Arava that really changed my life.  I no longer have severe flare-ups and I can participate fully in the activities that I want to with a minimum of pain.

I started running a couple of years ago in order to train for sprint distance triathlons.  This summer will be my third triathlon season, and I plan on participating in three triathlons.  Running has been a really positive thing for me, and I look forward to increasing my distance so that I can run a half marathon!  It's a little daunting right now, since I usually run 3-4 miles, and the most I've run is 5.  It's hard to imagine running 13, but I know that with enough training I'll get there!  You can help me by donating money here!

 

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