Sometimes it is the absence of pain and stiffness, or the challenge of an activity, that lets me know how far I’ve come. In the spring of 1999, when I was first diagnosed with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis, my sister had a bowling birthday party and I was unable to participate because of all the pain it caused in my shoulder. I remember sitting on the bench and crying because I was so upset and disappointed in myself. Recently, on a Saturday night, my friend suggested that we go bowling. At first I was apprehensive about doing it, I wasn\’t sure if it would hurt my shoulder, wrist, or hands, but, not wanting to be a nuisance, I went along with the plans. When we arrived at the bowling alley, I could feel my hands beginning to get clammy, and my heart started beating rapidly. We got our lanes, put on the hideous bowling shoes, and started the game. As I picked up the bowling ball and walked up to the front of the lane I was tempted to just roll the ball down with two hands, but, trying to overcome my uncertainty, I decided to just go for it- otherwise I would never be able to know what my body was capable of. I drew my arm back, took a few steps toward the lane, and let the ball go. It was only after I saw eight pins go down that I realized I had just gone through that whole motion without a single bit of pain. As the night went on I began to feel increasingly more comfortable with my abilities, and soon I was throwing my whole body into it without any reserve. I finished the night off beating my friend by 30 points and more importantly feeling wonderful about the resilience and flexibility of my body, in fact I almost felt like a “normal” person, not one with disabilities and limitations. If someone had told me three years ago, when I lay bedridden and crippled in pain, that I would be bowling (and winning), I would have never believed it. I have come so far since then, and feel that it is only a matter of time before I will have totally beaten this illness and entered into remission. However, I owe all of my success to the antibiotic therapy. If my mother had not found the Road Back web site and if I never started on minocycline, I don’t know where I would be right now. I am so thankful for finding this treatment.
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