You would never know by watching Kyle Elmore’s backhand shot that the 14-year-old athlete from Iowa has polyarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA). Kyle was diagnosed with JIA two years ago, but he decided that he was not going to let arthritis stop him from doing what he loves.
The Elmore family’s journey to a diagnosis was long and frustrating. “I remember experiencing a lot of pain in my knees and ankles, especially in the morning,” says Kyle. “My knees were so swollen that you couldn’t see my knee caps!”
Continue reading Iowa Teen with Arthritis is an Ace on and Off the Tennis Court
152. That’s the number of days Kristen McAllister, also known as Kmac, spent in the hospital in 2015. That’s 152 days out of school, away from friends and way out of her comfort zone. But, 152 days represents a mere fraction of the battle Kristen, now 21 years old, has been fighting since she was child.
At just 10 years old, Kristen faced her first surgery to remove rheumatoid nodules from her knee and hand. By the time she turned 11, Kristen had several painful joints, was often fatigued and dealt with unexplained fevers. A three-month course of antibiotics seemed to resolve her symptoms — temporarily.
“Kristen was doing so well for awhile that she made the middle school dance team as a rising sixth grader,” recalls Michele McAllister, Kristen’s mother. “We assumed her middle and high school years would always include dance team, competitive cheerleading, church activities and school clubs. But we were wrong.”
Another knee surgery relieved much of Kristen’s pain, but the fevers, joint aches and extreme fatigue returned. Like it is for many children, the road to diagnosis was a long and winding one.
Continue reading More than Just Aches and Pains – Kmac Fights her Biggest Battle with Arthritis Yet
Call it mother’s intuition. When Nicole Doyle woke up one morning with an unexpectedly swollen, hot and painful finger, her mother knew something was wrong. Even though Nicole’s pediatrician initially dismissed the thumb mystery as an injury caused by play, Nicole’s mom kept pressing for answers.
“We went to doctor after doctor, eventually ending up at an adult rheumatologist due to the fact that only about 250 pediatric rheumatologists exist in the entire United States,” recalls Nicole, now 18 years old. “As a three year old, I did not want to be there and have them examining me. I just wanted to go back home and play with my brother.”
Nicole’s visit with the adult rheumatologist is a day she will never forget.
Continue reading From Methotrexate to Miss Teen Minnesota: Nicole Finds Strength In Doing What She Loves
“I’ll never forget one night when she was crying in pain and rocking back and forth in her little rocking chair and said, ‘God, why won’t you help me? Mama, please help me!’”
Amanda Vizier, of Jackson, Miss., endured an eight-month nightmare trying to find a correct diagnosis and treatment for her daughter, Chloe, now 8 years old.
On Chloe’s sixth birthday, in 2010, she developed a rash. The doctor said it was probably some virus, and not to worry about it.
Within a couple of days, she started running a fever and we went back to the doctor. Chloe was diagnosed with Rocky Mountain spotted fever and went on antibiotics, but they didn’t help. For more than three weeks she had a fever of 104. She developed abdominal pain, she started limping, her rash was itching and she was screaming in pain. She ended up in the hospital for a few days. Over months of testing, doctors ruled out cancer, lupus and even juvenile arthritis. After all, her joints weren’t swollen.
She was diagnosed with strep throat, then with chronic hives. An allergist asked if she was just anxious.
Continue reading A Long Wait for Answers with JIA