“Ouch, Oh, Ouch” are the words that I always seem to be saying. I find it so annoying to have to say it everyday. I’m sick of hearing it, so I can’t even imagine how the people surrounding me feel. At 15 years old I was positive I broke my toe although I couldn’t remember how, two weeks later my fingers felt the same way, broken. I knew then that if I had broken all of fingers at once that would definitely be something I’d have remembered.
Three different doctors later, I was diagnosed as having psoriatic arthritis. I was given about 3 different prescriptions that would help with the inflammation. I have a great life as for luck, not so much, so wasn’t I surprised I had arthritis at 15.
Years later I am now 27, on Enbrel, Metatexate, prednisone, and Folic Acid. I have days when I literally cannot get out of bed. As tough and normal as I seem on the outside, I can something feel my joints deteriorating, and just want to fall apart. Never knowing if I’ll have a normal future is really scary.
Can I ever have kids?
Will I be in a wheelchair by the time I’m forty?
Are my hands going to look like the first picture that comes up on Google when I search Arthritis?
No one can answer these questions for me and no one can ever understand. Even people I have met that have Arthritis can’t understand because everyone’s is so different.
Working as a Makeup artist I need my hands. The constant fear of losing of my job, and my health insurance, over my hands not being able to move is a complete stressor. I have joined groups on the Internet where everyone talks about their arthritis and found it made me nothing but more depressed. Over the years though I have tried to come to terms with it all and just because I am stuck with this for life, I can’t let arthritis hold me back in any of my dreams. I can still go out and run around (some day’s slower then others). Putting my life on hold, waiting for a cure has never been an option.
The support of the best family and friends has been so important and helpful. Arthritis has taught me to be thankful for what I can still do and all that I have.
September 10-16th is Invisible Illness Week and their mission is to increase awareness that nearly 1 in 2 people have a chronic condition in the USA and about 96% of those people do not have visible signs of illness.
Jenna Donza is not only the author of this post but she is my little sister. Please help her, and others like her, fight for a cure by donating to the Arthritis Foundation