“Let’s play Twister!” I yell out. Twister was one of my all-time favourite games and my best friend, Anam, had one of her own. Playing Twister at Anam’s house became a ritual.
“Kay!” Anam beams and drags the game out from underneath her blue and white couch.
“Anam,” Her mom calls out. She enters the room, and sees us with the Twister mat all laid out. “Why don’t you guys play something else? This isn’t safe for Kiran. We don’t want her to get tired or hurt herself.” Her mom gently explains in a sympathetic voice.
“I won’t get hurt, I’m fine.” I bounce up and down.
A look of concern washed over Anam’s mom’s face, “Okay, Anam look after her.”
Anam nods. “Kiran, why don’t you spin the twister pad instead?”
“But I don’t like spinning the Twister pad, I want to play with all of you.” I look at my other two friends.
“How about we switch turns after?” Anam smiled and hands me the pad.
I pout and slouch in the seat. I spin the dial and with my eyebrows scrunched together I read out ,“Left hand on blue.”
Growing up with Rheumatoid Arthritis
This became a pretty common occurrence really fast. Parents were scared that I would hurt myself on their swings, or hurt myself playing tag at their house. The school even told me to sit out of gym for a few weeks until they made up their mind on whether I should be allowed to participate.
The hardest part about growing up with arthritis is that none of the other kids really understood what it was. They knew something was wrong with me but they didn’t ask me. I did, however, hear them whispering amongst themselves.
As I have already mentioned in my About Me page, a lot of people think kids don’t get arthritis.
“I still remember the first day back from school after I was diagnosed; I had been absent for two weeks. Kids in my class were whispering amongst themselves:
“She has arthritis?”
“I thought only old people got that?”
I found one of my friends crying at lunch. When I approached her, she said, “I don’t want you to die,” and then she hugged me tight.
Not knowing what was wrong with me, seeing my parents cry, and then having everyone in my school treat me as if I was a porcelain doll, ready to break any moment, was scary. I was confused. I had so many questions, most of them I didn’t want to ask. I kind of didn’t want to know.” -About Me!
A message to the peers of R.A. kids:
It’s easy for me to explain to you what arthritis is, but it’s nearly impossible for me to be able to tell you what it feels like.
Arthritis is a disease. It’s not contagious and there is no cure. It causes joints in the body to swell and hurt a lot. The person going through this can’t control it; they can’t control the pain. They didn’t do anything to make themselves sick, sometimes some people just get sick. The medications are really harsh, but the pain is worse.
The best thing that you kids can do, as peers of a kid with R.A., is to remember that:
1.) That child is the same person they were before.
2.) That child is probably scared, so don’t make it worse by making them feel alone or different. Help them, yes, but be gentle.
3.)Don’t make them feel different.
4.) Don’t make fun of them. It might be a quick laugh for you but I guarantee you, that hurt you caused them will never go away and they will always remember it. Be kind, be sensitive.
5.)Don’t be scared to let them play with you. They need exercise, exercise is very important for kids with R.A. If they don’t exercise their joints might become deformed, and they might lose mobility.
6.) Do be nice to them.
It’s hard being a kid with R.A. so please be kind to one another.
1.) Talk to your doctor
3.) Read the stories posted on Kids Get Arthritis Too. There’s three different age categories you can read about.
Hopefully this will help you to better understand what R.A. kids are going through.
“We only fear what we don’t understand…” – Andrew Smith
Take Care Loves
A Message To Kids with R.A.
I hope things are good with you. I want to thank you for being the strong little soldiers that you are. If you’re currently experiencing a flare up, don’t worry, it’ll calm down and you’ll be back on the playground before you know it.
Sometimes it can be hard, especially when your friends don’t get what’s going on, I hope this blog post helps. Your peers are only acting a little different because they don’t understand what it is. That’s why it’s our job to educate them.
For example, there must have been a time when you didn’t understand something and you had to ask your parents or a loved one, “What is that?,” and afterwards you weren’t scared any more. It’s like that.
“Knowledge is power.” – Sir Francis Bacon
On a side note: remember to take your medications and follow your doctor’s orders.
We all love you, and we all want you to be healthy.