Bailey’s mother writes a blog updating Bailey’s condition and promoting awareness of juvenile arthritis. This is Bailey’s story as told by her mother:One day when she was two years old, Bailey woke up with a sore knee and wouldn’t walk on it. Multiple trips to the doctor included blood work, x-rays and fluid drawn from her knee (while we held her down screaming), which resulted in being sent straight to Children’s Hospital, in Birmingham, Alabama.Bailey had surgery that night to irrigate her knee, and then spent three days in the hospital enduring constant poking and prodding for IVs and more blood from her tiny arms.
Finally, we were told, “She has JRA — Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis.” And the journey began.
From that moment, we have read and researched everything we can on this disease – and believe me, it’s NOT your grandmother’s arthritis! This is an autoimmune disease. Bailey’s white blood cells (her immune system) that are supposed to fight off infection instead attack the tissues in her joints with foreign matter and bacteria. The disease can cause possible bone length discrepancies or disability.
With the type of juvenile arthritis Bailey has, we were told there was a 20-30% chance it could affect her vision. We took her to the eye doctor and yes, it was already there! The doctor said she had cells – or floaters – in her eyes already. Left untreated, this can cause blindness called Uveitis.
We had no idea that this disease was even out there, yet almost 300,000 kids have some form of arthritis! It seems to be one of those diseases that no one knows about, but should. Early diagnosis is the key, but some states don’t even have a Pediatric Rheumatologist. Many Pediatricians don’t know enough about JA to recognize it, so many kids go undiagnosed for a long time, further damaging their joints. We have been fortunate that Bailey was diagnosed early, but never imagined that a red, swollen knee – that was warm to the touch – would ever lead to all that she has had to go through. She is one tough little girl, however, with a contagious smile!
Note: Bailey is 14 years old now and is as active and normal as her pain allows her to be. She is taking strong chemotherapy drugs to keep her JA symptoms in check. Watch our video “Kids Get Arthritis Too” to learn more about Bailey and juvenile arthritis.
Follow Bailey’s Story at: http://thewarrens-baileysmama.blogspot.com/
Click below to enlarge and view tribute videos to an inspirational young girl.