When I was a child dealing with undiagnosed juvenile arthritis, my mum struggled to have a provider listen to her concerns. I remember her telling me about the show “House M.D.” She said people would seek out Dr. House, the show’s lead character, with awful, confusing ailments. After a few days, he would diagnose them with a rare disease and then treat them.
At the time, I wished I could have met Dr. House and asked him for help. Even if he couldn’t cure me, it would’ve been a relief to know what was going on with me.
When I got older and watched the show, I decided that maybe I didn’t want to be House’s patient. Then again, by then I already had a diagnosis of juvenile psoriatic arthritis.
A diagnosis of juvenile arthritis or JA-related comorbidities is never great. Going through diagnosis can be frustrating, depressing, and scary. But you may experience other feelings, too, especially if you sought answers for a long time. These include:
Relief from finally knowing
Being diagnosed felt like it validated my experience. I wasn’t being overdramatic about my everyday pains. What I was going through was real pain with a genuine explanation. Having a diagnosis also made it possible to get accommodations.
While others sometimes think it odd, this sense of relief is common. I’ve heard countless stories of people being relieved at finally knowing what’s been ailing them for years, even if the diagnosis isn’t great. People in my life, on social media, and in documentaries regularly talk about that feeling. It’s also been portrayed on the TV show “Scrubs.”
Hope from having options
It was a relief knowing that although there’s no cure for JA, there are treatment options. I felt encouraged knowing that hope for a better tomorrow existed. I knew it probably would take a while to find the best arthritis treatment for me, but I felt hopeful knowing there was a chance I’d have relief.
Solidarity in finding my community
It’s so much easier to find a community to relate to when you have a name for your experience. Whether you turn to your local Arthritis Foundation chapter or find others through social media, knowing that someone else is going through the same thing is comforting. I met a lifelong friend at JA camp, and so many other wonderful people through my blog and social media sites. It’s great having friends who get it.
Dealing with your new normal
Being diagnosed with JA wasn’t easy. My diagnosis came during my emotionally charged preteen years, and I didn’t cope very well. Holding onto these good feelings gave me a lot of hope and helped me deal with my new normal.
I’ve learned to cope with things much better as I’ve gotten older, even as I’ve started to deal with some comorbidities. But the feeling of relief in knowing that my pain is real, the hope that there’s something we can do about it, and the solidarity in finding others going through the same thing has made it easier to stay positive through it all.
Note: Juvenile Arthritis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Juvenile Arthritis News, or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to juvenile arthritis.
We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!
Let us improve this post!
Tell us how we can improve this post?