In the summer of 2005, Delaney Casselman woke up with her right knee swollen to the twice the size of her left knee and she had difficulty walking. Her mother, Jennifer, took her to the doctor to see if there was an infection, or perhaps she had hurt her knee somehow. The doctor sent her on to an orthopedic specialist to investigate further. That’s when she first heard the fateful words, “I think that you need to go see a Pediatric Rheumatologist because I think your daughter may have Juvenile Arthritis”.
Not many people know that thousands of children are diagnosed with Arthritis every year. In fact, Arthritis has been one of the leading causes of childhood disability. At age 2, Delaney Casselman was now one of those children. Her initial diagnosis, known at that time as “Pauciarticular JRA” meant that she was diagnosed in 5 or fewer joints.
We had to go to first Nashville, and then Atlanta in order to see a Pediatric Rheumatologist because at that time, there wasn’t one in Alabama. Her treatment started with just steroid shots into her affected knee. Soon after, we started seeing Dr. Randy Cron in Birmingham when the Park Place clinic opened. However, after a few years, she showed signs of arthritis in her other knee and in her jaw and started taking Enbrel.
She spent over 6 years on Enbrel and did very well. In fact, she was in complete medicated remission by the fall of 2016 and at that point, Delaney tried to go off of medications. That lasted for about 6 months as her joints began acting up again in the spring of 2017 and she went back on Enbrel. However, in July 2017, she noticed a red line in her eye and was having some sight issues. A trip to the ophthalmologist confirmed that she had developed Uveitis, which is an inflammation of the eye. Since that point she has been on prednisone drops, Humira (for awhile), and now Remicade. She had cleared the uveitis for about a year, but it has redeveloped again in late summer of 2018.
Today, Delaney continues to fight against uveitis, but she lives as normal a life as possible in Tuscaloosa, AL, where she attends Northridge High School. Additionally, she is also enrolled in UA Early College where she has already earned her first two hours of credit.