Oh To Be A Kid Again . . . If Only

I was diagnosed with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis (aka Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis) when I was 18 months old. That was almost 50 years ago. I spent most of my childhood in and out of hospital but that was okay because when you’re a kid, you just want to be a kid. My left knee was surgically fused straight when I was 10 years old. I was a kid so this just meant that I had to ride my bike by pedaling with one foot and sticking the other out in front. It in no way meant that I didn’t ride my bike – or play soccer or jump rope or play kick the can. I would love to say that I carried that mentality through adulthood but it seems as we get older and wiser?, we get in our own way.

I gave birth to twins when I was 22 and had a young doctor in the room whose only job was to hold my leg up while I pushed because I couldn’t bend it into the stirrup lol. At first I was mortified but then remembered why I was there – to give birth to two beautiful little girls! Today I have bilateral hip replacements, left knee replacement, fused wrists, flexion contracture of both elbows, left toe fusions and more. I do not have a pretty walk as I am currently waiting on the call for the right knee replacement, but I walk! I have my “boo hoo” moments, as I like to call them but I figure I am entitled as long as I don’t get lost in them. The best advice I got as a child, or rather my parents got, was that when my arthritis was running rampant and I couldn’t be as active as you want to be as a kid – find a way to get my mind active! For us long-time sufferers understand the correlation between active arthritis and depression. As an adult, life in the form of work, family and other daily responsibilities get in our way. Throw in the pain and fatigue of Athritis and joy doesn’t stand a chance. Finding time to read a chapter or two of a good book, listening to a song that takes me back to the ” good old days” or just watching the flowers grow can make a big difference. But I am not a kid anymore so I have to find time for fun! There’s a Chinese proverb (yes I am going there) that says “one joy can scatter many griefs”. It won’t cure my Arthritis but I will take any period of respite that I can get. Oh to be a kid again.

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