Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Juvenile Arthritis - Finish the Race!

Living as a teen with arthritis is kind of like Savannah's swim meet yesterday…some days you get rained on.  After a fifteen minute delay as the rain poured in Mobile, AL, the meet continued…and Savannah got her best personal times ever!

Much of Savannah's success is due to the people whom cheer her on everyday…Jenna, Sarah, Lauren, Garrett, and Nolan to name just a few. These two guys came straight from a college exam to cheer Savannah on…we love you Cody and Kyle!  To everyone who reads this blog, the power of an encouraging word to those struggling can mean the difference of finishing a race…and finishing it strong!!

It was just five years ago Savannah could hardly walk, let alone run.  She competed in a one mile run…and it took everything in her to finish that race…but her friend Hope cheered her on that day, and even ran across the finish line with her….reminding her she can overcome her challenges.

This weekend, Savannah will attempt her first 5K without assistance (i.e. wheelchair).  Savannah may not have the best time on the clock at the end of the race, but finishing will be her goal.  Mornings are hard for most anyone with arthritis (joints are very stiff), so the 7am start time with be a challenge within itself.  However, with friends encouraging her…she has the courage to try.  As her friends run, part of Savannah's spirit will be with them wishing she was running beside them.  However,  Savannah plans to walk…and she hopes to walk for all the Juvenile Arthritis kids who cannot walk because of the pain within them.  Don't give up, because even though there are rainy days on this journey, the sunshine will come again.  Meanwhile, Savannah will walk for you.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

JIA: Sometimes All You need is Someone to Cheer You On!

2017 swim season has officially begun!  This is going to be a short, but sweet post.  Savannah's arthritis has still yet to ever go in remission, but it is manageable with prayer, sulfasalazine, and friends cheering you on!  Life with JIA is definitely a roller coaster, but today was a very good day!!  Also, Savannah got her best personal time ever in 50 freestyle!!  She also finished strong in breaststroke.
Precious friend cheering Savannah on during breaststroke.

Some of the female swimmers at PCA …so blessed!

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Her Joints Were Not Made to Walk Large College Campuses...but, God is Writing Savannah's Story

Savannah is in Science Olympiad at know where a bunch of kids get together and make and learn great science stuff! (Oh, forgive me science teacher for this pitiful description).  Anyways, her school made it to state this year where she and her teammates competed with 14 other schools from Alabama at Auburn University.  AUBURN...a beautiful university campus and one my daughter has dreamed of possibly attending for many, many years...well, until yesterday.  After walking all over campus for her different events, Savannah's joints were screaming in pain!  Her joints are just not made to walk great distances all day long, especially when she is in a flare.  But God is telling this girl's story, and where a door closes, another one will open.  We believe a smaller college campus is in this girl's future.  So, if any other Juvenile Arthritis families have any advice on attending a small school campus verses a big school campus, please comment below.  We can all learn from each other.  Also, everyone who is reading this, thank you for taking this journey with us.

Everybody, come take my hand.
We'll walk this road, together, through the storms, 
Whatever weather, cold or warm.
Just letting you know,
that you are not alone.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

It's Back!! Arthritis has returned, but she pushes forward.

It started with pain in her knee.  Then pain in her ankles.  Then she had trouble writing.  We knew the signs, but you just want to pretend it is not there.  The pain never really left, but it had become manageable.  Now, to write three sentences is a challenge.  She is in athletics 7th period because she is on the School Swim Team first semester.  Swim= Awesome for joints! Running stadium steps second semester to "stay in shape"= totally horrible for someone with active arthritis in her knees and ankles.  Yet, she refuses to give up because she doesn't want to be seen as different.  Can anyone else relate??  Love this girl.  If you can relate, know you are not alone.  Savannah is walking this path with you...and some days the walk is awfully hard. She still pushes forward, though...because she chooses to.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

JIA Families...A New Beginning

Dear JIA families,

I have shared on this blog the good and the bad with Savannah's journey with arthritis.  Savannah has seen two years of monthly infusions, jaw injections twice, years of daily medicine, being in a wheelchair because of severe pain, weekly shots, sleepless get the picture.  But now, we want to share the good from it all.  Savannah is compassionate, a fighter, looks for the positive, courageous, and more well rounded because of her arthritis journey.  And now, she is also a child of Christ.  We want to share this joy with our readers because this blog is not only about a child's arthritis journey, but the blessings in spite of it.  Savannah became a Christian Oct. 6, 2016 through faith and obedience.  To God be the glory!!!

Savannah being baptized by her Papa.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Juvenile Arthritis and Swimming...a Great Combination

Savannah had her first swim meet was a great success!  She swam with all her heart and her joints handled it wonderfully.  Savannah is so blessed in so many ways and we thank God for the Prattville Christian Academy swim team! Thank you to all who have prayed for Savannah as we celebrate this blessing together!

Yes, life with Juvenile Arthritis is a roller coaster, and we thank God for times like these that are wonderful and down right fun!  ... And when we hit a dip or crazy part of this ride/journey with arthritis...we will remember days like today...and we will be thankful.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Juvenile Arthritis -Teenage Years and Junior High - What Helps

I haven't posted in a long while...sorry about that.  Sometimes you just don't know what to say, because life is a roller coaster with juvenile arthritis. are some helpful ideas for living with arthritis as an 8th grader, so far.

1. Savannah's locker:  All lockers at Savannah's junior high school have a lock built into the locker....all lockers but ONE...Savannah's locker.  This is because the school physically removed Savannah's lock on her locker because her hands are not able to maneuver the opening of the lock due to the arthritis in her fingers and hands.  We are thankful to the school for doing this...sometimes you just have to ask.

2.  Savannah has joined the school swim team!  This is a huge thing, because this is the first sport she has played that has really not affected her joints for the fact, the movement is great for her joints!! Soccer may be a thing of the past (so much running was killing her ankles and feet), but swim...well, it is a blessing from God for Savannah.  Looking for a great school sport for arthritis...try SWIMMING!

3.  Savannah still uses her pencil grip to write every day, but sometimes there are too many notes to write down for hands with arthritis to manage.  So, Savannah takes her phone or computer and takes a picture of the notes on the board as the teacher writes them down.  She then prints them up on our printer and puts them in her notebook for future studying and notebook checks.

4.  SUCK IT UP!  Yes, this is the term we use amongst ourselves.  Sometimes, no matter how much it hurts, you just have to "suck it up" and deal with the pain as best you can.  If Savannah wants to wear some cute shoes without her shoe inserts, she "sucks it up".  If Savannah wants to run the football on and off the field as "ball girl" to help manage the varsity football team on Friday nights, she "sucks it up" (even though this simple act makes her feet and ankles scream by the end of the game).  Get the point?! Don't let arthritis stop you from doing things that are most important to you. 

Savannah's life is more than is full of so many opportunities and blessings.