I followed the small blue and yellow foot prints stuck onto the floors to one of the Sick Kids’ examination rooms, and hopped up on the examination table and swung my feet back and forth.
Huge Scooby Doo stickers smothered the walls, giant teddy bears stood in the hallways, and there were more games and colouring books in the waiting room than I could ever imagine and there was even a play kitchen. But more than the material objects in the rooms and hallways, I loved Sick Kids as a whole. I loved the staff and my doctors and the reason is simple, they actually cared.
My experience with Prednisone
I was 17 when my doctor asked if I would go talk to another patient; we’ll call her Sara. Sara had been on prednisone for about four months, and I had just gotten off of it three months prior. When I was on the medication, my weight went from 105-ish pounds to around 125, but within a month or two of getting off prednisone, I was down to 110. I didn’t even work out, the weight just melted away.
Prednisone is in a class of drugs called “corticosteroids”. It helps “[prevent] the release of substances in the body that cause inflammation.” The drug worked for me but it has many side effects, as do all drugs. One of the many side effects of prednisone is rapid weight gain. I know that gaining a lot of weight, and that too uncontrollably, can be very hard so I agreed to meet with Sara.
I followed the same tiny blue and yellow footprints back into the waiting room to Sara. Sara was only 14 and had gained around 15 pounds. She sat on the pine green couches crying in her mother’s arms and her father, hiding his tears behind his hand, stood next to her.
“Hi, are you Sara?” I quietly asked.
Sara sniffled and said, “Yes.”
“I’m Kiran. I just got off Prednisone three months ago.” I sat down beside her.
“You aren’t fat like me and ugly like me.” She gazed at my body in confusion.
Cold air flushed my skin as my face saddened. “You aren’t fat or ugly,” I replied with tears now forming in my eyes. “I promise the weight comes off right away. You’ll be all better. I promise, the pain and weight will go away.”
“Promise?” she asked as she gazed into my eyes with newfound hope. “You know, no one at school likes me now.” She cried.
“I’m sorry but I promise you’ll get better,” I blubbered.
“Thank you.” She hugged me and smiled.
“Oh, and by the way you are really, really pretty.” I smiled.
Sara’s eyes began to water again as she responded, “You’re really pretty too.”
What’s Rheumatoid Arthritis?
Rheumatoid Arthritis is a very aggressive disease and when it causes pain, it really, really hurts. It’s hard to explain the pain so that’s a story for another post. What this disease does is that it causes inflammation in the joints and surrounding tissue, and if it goes untreated it can permanently damage mobility.
But if kids like Sara are going through so much emotional pain, what are the chances of them taking their medication?
Not very high, even though they absolutely need to take them. I know I stopped taking mine more times than I can count because I hated it. However, I saw the results of my actions quickly and started on them again, and then I would stop again.
Be kind to one another
No one should ever feel ugly, regardless of their age or illness.
As a good samaritan, I ask you to please never call anyone ugly, or fat, or anything hurtful. Words really hurt. Please think before you speak for girls like Sara, ’cause that hurt never goes away.
Until this day, I hate my body and my entire physical appearance and it’s all because I have arthritis. It’s not fun when your greatest fear is your own body, especially when you see it every day and yet can’t control it.
Sometimes a girl just wants to be told she’s beautiful.
kind words are short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.
Personal Message to persons with RA:
I just wanted to tell you you’re gorgeous. You’ll be fine, I promise. The flare up will calm down soon and your mobility will come back. Just believe in yourself and know that you have someone you can come talk to at any time, me.
You’re truly amazing.