Rosie was diagnosed with juvenile idiopathis arthritis (JIA) when she was just one-year old. She had only just learned to walk. Her arthritis affects her feet and knees so she couldn’t walk for almost six months while her family waited for a diagnosis. They saw six different doctors in the UK and she had all sorts of strange diagnoses before they eventually saw a rheumatologist who recognized the disease. She had joint injections under general anesthetic, started an antimetabolite shortly after and we added a biologic when she was 6. She is almost 9 and still on medication. Thankfully she lives a full and active life, due to the great care she receives from Dr. Bernal and UCSF. Her family hopes Rosie will outgrow the disease.
One of the horrible parts of JIA is the side effects of the immune suppressing drugs she takes. She is vulnerable to illness. She caught chicken pox when she was four and it was a serious and lengthy hospital stay. As much as they hate the fact that Rosie has to take such strong medication, they are incredibly grateful for the results. Without the medication Rosie would not be able to walk - that is a fact, plain and simple. If Rosie had been diagnosed before these medications were available, she would have spent her entire childhood in a wheelchair. Instead she plays basketball, is an enthusiastic gymnast, dancer, and swimmer. Despite her challenges, she is a lucky girl who lives life to the max.