I’ve just published a story by Cathy Cottam about growing up with juvenile arthritis.
It is so interesting to see the universal themes come into our lives when joint pain is the problem.
Cathy reflects on the types of issues that came up for her when she was at school. After reading about some of these experiences I have to admit feeling a little relieved to see that it wasn’t just us. We had lots of difficulty negotiating sport and physical education side of things.
People really struggle to come to terms with something they can’t see. If they notice that a child can run one week they don’t accept that the child may not be able to run a week later.
Kids who suffer fatigue are often regarded as lazy or uncooperative. If that same child had a sling or bandage to show injury they would be treated with more care and consideration.
Children with arthritis experience many occasions when they feel they are not believed. This is a difficult one because any normal healthy kid will try to get out of things they don’t like by saying they are sick. It can be a challenge for parents and teachers to work out when to back off and when to push a little.
Even people who know the child well like a parent or class teacher can sometimes get it wrong. People who don’t know the child well, like the once a week sports teacher, are even less likely to make a good call.
I found reading Cathy’s story comforting. It clarifies for me that despite these difficulties, it is possible to lead the life you want to.
I recommend you check out Growing Up with Juvenile Arthritis.