Juvenile Oligoarticular Arthritis
Grace was diagnosed with Juvenile Oligoarticular Arthritis at 20 months. The road to diagnosis was stressful and confusing. We noticed that Grace had developed a limp when walking. Given the uncertain cause of the limp, we had multiple visits with an orthopedist and multiple rounds of x-rays followed by a three-hour lower body MRI. While in the MRI, the doctors recognized inflammation in the opposite knee of the leg with the limp. However, one hour after coming up from anesthesia, Grace spiked a 104 fever and we rushed her to the ER. After several stressful hours, it was determined that Grace suffered atelectasis from coming up too fast from the anesthesia. Thankfully, while in the ER Grace’s x-rays were reviewed by a rheumatologist and was soon diagnosed.
Grace’s symptoms are mostly under control. She has worked with physical therapists to improve her walking and running. Often times pain from arthritis (particularly with weather change) can lead to irritability and not enjoying otherwise fun kid functions. That said, it is hard for us as parents to differentiate between toddler tantrums and screams from arthritic pain or complaining about side effects, such as belly aches, from her weekly methotrexate injections.
Grace is a rambunctious and curious three-year-old. She loves preschool, dance class and bowling. She has a very kind heart and embodies empathy in a small package. Grace is determined, strong and fierce and will battle her JIA with her family and friends at her side. While difficult for her parents and for her, we have no doubt that this is the start of her story. We can only hope that her daily triumph will inspire others and hopefully lead to better treatment and/or potential cure.
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