Nine months ago, my life changed. Enormously. My then bubbly, cheeky, active three-year old was diagnosed with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis. (I blogged about it here.)
Back then, I didn’t know JRA existed. Today, I know a whole lot more…and my bubbly, cheeky, active four-year old girl still has JRA with the added dangerous complication of Uveitis (inflammation in her eyes.)
The last nine months of our journey have been so many things: emotional, challenging, time-intensive, educational, magical, all encompassing, full of gifts, full of sadness, full of growth.
In part, due to my belief in alternative as well as Western medicine, we now have a team of people working for my little girl. We have a rheumatologist, an ophthalmologist, a functional doctor, a kinesiologist/homeopath, an osteopath and a pharmacist at Boots with whom I am now on a first-name basis. All of the teachers at school support us and help me to give her her meds when needed. Friends and almost-strangers have sent me their encouragement, support and advice via Facebook. For all of this, I am grateful.
I have learned so much…about the immune system, about food, about supplements. I now cook regularly with coconut products that I never previously knew existed. And because my daughter eats no wheat (along with a slew of other things), my own diet has changed for the better.
I had hoped, as every mother would, that our journey with JRA would be a simple one. Some children with this disease do heal and end up in remission. I had hoped that, through alternative medicine and lots of dietary care, this would be our story. It may still be. But I now find myself having to strongly consider starting my daughter on Methotrexate, a serious drug with serious side effects. This is not an easy decision. There are no easy answers.
Nine months ago, rather naively, I wrote:
1. In everything, there is always a gift.
2. Ask for help. It will arrive…somehow.
3. Trust. And believe. Always for the best.
I still believe these three things are true. But perhaps I might add a fourth….
4. Embrace your challenges. Make friends with them. In thanking them, you will find a way through.
I will let you know when we do.