Arthritis Poem Spreads Awareness

Arthritis Poem

Arthritis Poem Spreads Awareness

Nathan Koller, age 15, has been surrounded by arthritis for his entire life. Not only does he suffer from psoriatic arthritis which he was diagnosed with two years ago, but both of his parents are also arthritis sufferers, his youngest brother has juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, his sister has fibromyalgia, and his twin brother has psoriasis.

In homage of his family members and all those in the arthritis community who are suffering, Nathan composed a poem, appropriately entitled I Wish It Was. His poem is how he chose to try to capture what it means to suffer from arthritis.

“I Wish It Was” an arthritis poem by Nathan Koller

I’m writing this because of medication
Medication that makes me wanna write a proclamation.
A proclamation explaining the desperation in which I feel.
I’m curling over in pain
Hoping that one day I’ll gain.
Gain the ability to go a day without pain
Without having to take pill after pill
Watching my parents sweat over medical bills
Because I feel it’s ridiculous
Ridiculous to think that a boy my age has to worry and stress over every medical test
Every MRI
I’m tired.
Tired of having to explain
Explain to every child, parent, uncle, aunt.
Why all the other kids taunt
Why I am not the same
Why I sit on the side lines while others play the game
Why I wear 3 joint braces on a good day
And the other kids don’t know what to say when I tell them it cant be fixed
Or having to explain to teachers that I can’t write because of my wrist
Because it’s shooting pain and it hurts to move
But there’s no injury so it’s hard to prove
But this isn’t a scam
I wish it was.
Because you don’t have to live in my skin
Maybe they’ll catch a glimpse now and then when they see me hunched over in pain
A grimace on my face
The pain shooting up my sides
And before they can ask if I’m alright
I say I’m okay
Its just not a good day
And I know it may not be easy to understand
But all I want you to do is get an A for effort.
And even if I don’t have your support
I would at least like your understanding
Or your tolerance
Because it isn’t always easy being the kid on the sideline.
I am strong.
But I’m just a kid trying to see where I belong.
So if you’d work with me that’d be great
But if you wont then move out of the way
Because I refuse to stop for anyone
Or any disease or disability that stands in my way
And so I wake up
With the mentality that I could shape up
That I can over come anything life throws
Because what will happen tomorrow
I could never know
But no disease will ever stop my life
From being my life.
Kids get arthritis too
And maybe its time for you to open your eyes and see
Its not a scam
Its not a joke
Its not a game
But I wish it was.

Nathan Koller, who suffers from psoriatic arthritis, writes a poem to spread arthritis awareness
Nathan’s signature “goofy-face”

Encouraged by his mother, who is an avid follower of arthritis pages and support forums online, Nathan agreed to submit his poem in hopes of spreading awareness.

Nathan’s disease is currently active and although he takes methotrexate to help with his flares, he has yet to try another type of medication because of his phobia of needles. However, just because he’s sick does not mean that he is missing out on life. Described by many of his friends as talkative, kind, and funny, Nathan loves to have fun and does not harbor any form of self pity.

“It gives me more of a drive when it comes to physical activities and just everything,” he said. “It makes me feel like I have to do just as good, if not better than others to prove that the disease doesn’t stop me.”

Nathan admitted that he tends to do exactly what he puts his mind to and is aware that many people living with forms of arthritis are sometimes fearful to do things that might jeopardize their health. According to him, he said that “whatever you want to do, it is best to just go for it.” His philosophy is that arthritis will stop patients’ bodies from doing things they cannot handle physically, so it is foolish to limit yourself based solely on fear. Through his poetry and outlook on his disease, he hopes to inspire and show others that arthritis is just a hurtle to jump in the race of life.

Article Author
Arthritis National Research Foundation

The Arthritis National Research Foundation's mission is to provide initial research funding to brilliant, investigative scientists with new ideas to cure arthritis and related autoimmune diseases. Writing articles about the patients affected and the science being done to find a cure shows why we need to come together to #CureArthritis!

  • Avatar
    John P. Lynch
    Posted at 12:38h, 27 February Reply


    Starting at the age of 11, I have lived with JRA/RA for nearly 59 years. I have tried many different treatments, both medical and non-medical, to live a meaningful life not burdened by pain and disability. Your aversions to needles is something I fully understand. But I overcame my anxiety when self injected biological medicines, such as Enbrel and Simponi, improved my condition significantly. The auto injected pens worked the best. Regardless, I am not necessarily recommending this form of treatment for you. These drugs are very expensive and have potentially serious side effects. Your medical providers, especially if you have a rheumatologist, should be your guide.

    Be that as it may, your poem and the history of arthritis in your family remind of the story of the Lewan family. I set forth their ordeal as told by the father, Gene, in my memoir, Tale of an Old Katfish (2016). His daughters all have some form of arthritis which started during their adolescence. What they have lived with is just as compelling as what you have lived with. My memoir tells not only my story and the Lewan Family stories but also those of other young persons affected by arthritis. Just like your poem, its message is to raise awareness about juvenile arthritis, thereby helping to find the cure for this condition. Please stay the course. And may you find the right treatments to alleviate your pain and suffering.

    John P. Lynch

  • Avatar
    Posted at 13:57h, 27 February Reply

    I’m so sorry you have to live with this pain especially at your age. I have constant pain but am an old lady now. Still, it is so hard to get through every day at work. I really am most sad that I can’t play with and enjoy my grandchildren. Arthitis in any form is difficult to bear. Bless you, Nathan. I hope you have many low pain days.

  • Avatar
    Posted at 03:18h, 01 March Reply

    Hi Nathan,

    I have been an RA warrior all my life I am 42 now. The scariest was at the age of 28 when I experienced an unbelievable flare, As you know they just hit you unexpectedly. Although, we go through all of this pain and suffering, you are absolutely correct that is just another hurtle. Keep the faith and push foward, as we are the RA angels, that carry someone else’s pain that would not be able to handle, so we can. You wrote an amazing poem that will help another warrior. Thank you for sharing. God Bless!

  • Avatar
    Posted at 09:14h, 12 April Reply

    I cried on your poem Nathan as I can understand it and I have the same case since age 19. None of the medicines are working well. Well, you are dealing with it on smaller age than I’m dealing with it and your brothers and sisters as well …may you and your entire family be blessed to overcome the pain

  • Avatar
    Olivia Lamont
    Posted at 07:57h, 24 November Reply

    I’ve had arthritis since in was 12… I totally feel this. I love this poem. Thank you for writing such an inspiring poem for all JA patients. You did an outstanding job.

  • Avatar
    Deborah Whittier
    Posted at 14:19h, 28 July Reply

    Hi Nathan,

    I have had Rheumatoid since I was 7 years old. I am now 34 years old. Your poem touched my heart. Keep writing Nathan. And keep fighting. Keep Moving and Stay Strong! Thank you For your Words!!

  • Avatar
    Dianne Koller
    Posted at 23:03h, 28 July Reply

    Hi! This is Nathan’s mom! Thank you for sharing his poem with everyone. I am so happy that it is being shared with so many. I know that there are many children out there that fill just like he did. It is amazing to me that this was written almost 6 years ago and is still being spread to help others. I hope that it can continue being spread and touch many more people! Thank you for all the love and support! {{{Hugs}}}

    • CureArthritis
      Posted at 08:55h, 30 July Reply

      Hi there Dianne! Nathan’s words really resonate with so many; we’re always happy to keep sharing his poetry!

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