Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Lucy The Limper

"Your daughter has Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis." 
Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis. 
Juvenile = child.
Idiopathic = unknown.
Arthritis = the reason my beautiful 16-month-old, who literally ran before she started walking, can't walk anymore. 
Lucy has been limping around for about 6 weeks now, so, after being seen by doctors, x-rayed (fun), and poked and prodded with needles (more fun), they have determined that she has Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA).  (Don't look it up on Wikipedia, it will only scare the beejeeus out of you.)  We originally thought it was just her right knee, but it turns out, it's both.  And we have to keep a close eye on her, as it could still spread to her other joints.  But we caught it early, so the probability of it causing permanent joint damage is minimal. 
So, besides the fact that my beautiful little girl will always have this condition (although symptoms after treatment may recede and become dormant until she reaches puberty (we're really hoping and praying for that)), she will have to have eye exams every 3 months for the rest of her life, because JIA can cause eye swelling and blindness. 
Turns out this is a pretty rare disease.  Only 80-90 children in 100,000 are diagnosed with JIA. 
We've started her on prescriptions to manage the pain and swelling, so hopefully, we can resolve her problems with those, otherwise more drastic measures will have to be taken. 
With treatment, the doctors have assured me that she can still lead a normal life, it's just a matter of finding what treatments work for her. 
So . . . even though this is not an ideal situation, it could be much worse.  (The words "cancer" and "leukemia" were thrown around at first.  And the word "heart-attack" could have been applied to me.) 
Through all this Lucy is still our smiling, happy girl.