We know, it sounds like a crazy question. But some people say they’ve found unexpected reasons to actually be grateful for their diagnosis. Here’s what three bloggers wrote.
From Kate Wingate
My name is Kate Wingate and I’m from Greensboro, North Carolina. On the outside, I look like a normal 13-year-old girl, but I have juvenile arthritis (JA). Arthritis is a disease that doesn’t present in a way that you might think, and unless I’m having a flare, no one would ever know. I’ve had JA since I was 18-months-old, so I can’t remember what it feels like to not have pain in my joints.
Charcandrick West has juvenile arthritis. Now he’s dodging tackles in the NFL.
It’s a scene fans of the Kansas City Chiefs football team know well: Charcandrick West crashes into a tackler, spins and breaks free, then shifts into high gear as he races downfield. Yet Charcandrick, now in his fourth season as a running back for the Chiefs, never forgets that he has faced a more challenging opponent: systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis (sJIA). It appeared at age 14, and symptoms became so severe that one doctor predicted the teen might never walk again, much less play football.
For 17-year-old Allison Alberts of Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, waking up with pain is an everyday occurrence for her. Some days the pain is manageable and can be helped along by a hot shower or a run to loosen up her body. Other days, Allison might struggle to get out of bed and looks to her father, Jamie, to help her walk or give her joints a comforting massage.
“There are many days I wish I could be normal, let alone feel normal for a day – a day without any pain, “says Allison. “But complaining does nothing. Complaining won’t take away the pain and complaining won’t allow my fingers to look normal. The way I go about my day is to let my arthritis and my body know that they will not stop me.”
When Kevin Gadd was born, roughly 51 years ago, an unexpected and unwelcomed guest joined his family.
“My mom was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in her hands just after I was born,” explained Kevin. “We called it Arthur, like Arthur-itis. We were always mad at Arthur because he brought pain to my mom and made it difficult for her to do the things she loved. Arthur was a bad dude.”
American chefs Ruth Graves Wakefield and Sue Bridges invented the chocolate chip cookie in 1938 and served them as a sweet snack and dessert at the Toll House Inn in Whitman Massachusetts. Little did they know the impact their invention would have on a little girl from Greensboro, North Carolina some 67 years later.
They said they were going to do it and, by golly, they did it – in record time!
Earlier this year, brothers Tom and Greg Van Volkenburg decided they were going to swim across Lake Erie, a distance of 24.3 miles, in honor of their mom, Debbie, who has battled rheumatoid arthritis (RA) for most of her life.
Everyone needs to ask for help occasionally, but when you have a chronic condition, asking for and accepting help can be especially fraught. Here’s what three bloggers have learned.
Juvenile arthritis awareness is in high gear – with Juvenile Arthritis Awareness month and two JA Conferences being held between July and August, this is the perfect time for director Aisling Walsh’s movie “Maudie” to hit theaters in most major markets.
“Maudie,” based on the true story of Maud Lewis, follows Maudie’s debilitating experience with arthritis throughout her life. Set in 1937, the movie begins with Maudie painting flowers on a wall with great difficulty. Sally Hawkins’s portrayal of Maud Lewis shines, as she next contorts her body to seem very small as Maudie sits smoking on the porch of her shrewd Aunt Ida’s house (Aunt Ida is played by Gabrielle Rose). Upon learning that the house will go under construction, Maudie is quick to find an opportunity as a live-in maid in a tiny shack with a gruff man named Everett (played by Ethan Hawke). And though rocky at first, the optimist and the pessimist, both social outcasts in their respective ways, begin a relationship.
Turning into the straightaway you quickly push the pedal to the floor. The engine roars to life as you accelerate down the track. Up ahead is your next challenge – a hairpin turn that requires carefully calculated breaking and precise steering, otherwise you might spin out and lose your position. Your tires are just inches away from the car next to you. With a little luck and skill, you might outmaneuver the other driver and come out ahead without wrecking.
Tom Boehland can’t get enough of this. He grew up a race fan and for years has known legendary IndyCar driver and team owner Bobby Rahal. Today he roots for Bobby’s son, Graham, who currently competes in the IndyCar Series.