Sunday, September 15, 2013

Would You Like To Learn More About Evil Arthritis?

"The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist." -The Usual Suspects (1995)

Emma's arthritis is nice and quiet. Beautifully quiet. Too quiet. In a matter of a few short weeks, her summer flare up was reduced to nothing. Her joints are not swollen, stiff, or painful. There is not even a hint of a limp to her gait. I have been happily lulled into complacency once again.
On the outside, she is a typical three and a half year old. She loves to run, jump, climb, and squeal at the top of her lungs. She adores her baby brother, but does not adore sharing toys with him. She is stubborn and sassy, she is loving and kind.

On the inside, her body is still a battlefield. Emma's immune system wants to attack her joints. Thanks to her weekly Enbrel injection, a sort of stand-off has been achieved. The perfect balance of inflammatory proteins and anti-inflammatory proteins in her body are keeping her immune system in check, for now. I hope and pray that it stays that way for some time. That's really all I can do.

Did you know that Juvenile Arthritis can also cause inflammation in the eyes? It's called uveitis and it scares the living daylights out of me.

Emma sees an ophthalmologist every six months to check for uveitis. As with inflammation in her joints, if uveitis goes untreated, it can cause permanent damage.

She saw her eye doctor last week and, as with every previous visit, he saw no signs of active inflammation. However, he did see a tiny sign of past inflammation. What. The. Crap? I'm hoping he was seeing things, that he is somehow wrong, but my gut tells me to trust this man. If that is the case, then Emma had inflammation in her eye sometime in the past six months.

Some JA medications treat uveitis, some do not. Uveitis does not magically go away on it's own. Methotrexate (mtx) does treat the eyes, and Emma was on that medication for a very long time. She stopped mtx at the end of February. It is possible that the naproxen she took for her flaring joints this summer actually helped her eyes, but she isn't on that anymore, either. The medication she takes now (Enbrel) does not treat uveitis at all.

So... I'm taking her to ophthalmology for her recheck in four months instead of six this time.  

1 comment:

  1. At least the Ophthalmology appointments aren't painful! Emma goes through enough, she doesn't need more pain!