Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Let's Talk About Arthritis. Again.

Next week marks one year since I gave Emma her first injection of Enbrel and we started getting her arthritis under control. It's been an awesome year. We got to wean off of her oral NSAID. We went to physical therapy and saw greater range of motion in her affected joints. We entered the world of medicated remission and we are still there!

Just look how much she has grown in a year. (Okay... 16 months, to be exact.)
Smiling through the pain.

My beautiful, big girl!
The first picture is from June 2012. That would be a month after onset of disease but before any treatment aside from naproxen. See her big, swollen knee?

The second picture was taken last week. You can't quite see it, but her knee is normal now and has been for some time.

Hooray for modern medicine and modern day miracles!

If she continues to be symptom free for two more months, we'll stop her meds and see what happens. I'm hoping we make it that far. I'm hoping we stop the medication and the arthritis stays away.

I'm delighted for my little girl, but there are kids out there who are not so lucky. Em was diagnosed quickly and we were able to start aggressive treatment early. Most children go for years without diagnosis and by the time the doctors figure out what is going on, these kids have permanent damage. We have a friend whose JA was quiet for months. Then while fighting a stomach flu, her immune system started attacking her little joints again and they became swollen, angry, and red. There are children whose own bodies attack their eyes, heart, lungs, and muscles. Juvenile Arthritis can kill these kids. It is horrible. I hate this disease.

Yet, it appears that JA is Emma's battle to fight in this life. I hope she endures it well and grows stronger because of her trials. I pray that her disease stays quiet for a while. I feel greedy to ask for complete remission; all I ask is for a few years so she can know comfort, peace, and a pain-free childhood without Mommy giving her injections every week.

Wouldn't that be nice?