Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis

Emma 2003 USA

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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