Hi! My name is Shannon Morehouse and I am a 7th grader at Solvang Elementary. I was first diagnosed with JIA at three years old. My family jokes that it all started with “a boy.” I was riding my bicycle with training wheels and was staring at a boy on our street and tipped over and hit my left knee. It never bled or anything. My knee kept on getting more and more swollen until it was the size of a Grapefruit (no exaggeration). I then saw three different doctors until I was diagnosed with JIA.
The hardest part for me was the blood draws. No kid likes needles and I know for a fact that most adults don’t like them either. I remember that my Grandma would pick me up from my house early and have a ton of stuffed animals in the back seat then we would drive to PDL (Pacific Diagnostics Lab) and I would scream, yell, cry and run around. They had to hold me down on the chair so that they could take my blood. Nuts right?!
The worst part for my family was having to give me the methotrexate shots. My mom would give me the shots every sunday night after bed. The first time she gave them to me she was so nervous my Grandpa, who was is a doctor, gave it to me. After that though, I told my Mom I didn’t want to be awake when they gave me the shot. So my mom wore her spelunker light on her head and would sneak into my room and gave me my shots after I was “dead” asleep.
I am very thankful that my family put me first so that I could get the best care for my disease. UCLA was a very long drive from where I lived at the time and with me being small and not the best “sit still-er.” UCLA is about a 2 ½ hour drive not counting the dreadful LA traffic.
But now that Dr. Parsa is in Santa Barbara. It is now only a ½ hour drive. I am so so so thankful for Dr. Parsa moving her whole life to Santa Barbara - just for me! (ha ha).
I wish arthritis didn’t exist because I don’t think that anybody should have to go through that physical and emotional pain. The pain that a child and their family goes through is very difficult. But I applaud you for dealing with it head on. It will benefit your child so much in a way that you will never understand.
I still see Dr. Silverberg, my ophthalmologist, every 6 months so that he can check my eyes for inflammation. He has been my eye doctor for Nine years. I appreciate his work very much.
That is the end of my story. I have been dealing with J.I.A for nine years this year. I am lucky enough to say that I am in remission now and hope to stay that way.
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