My Younger brother,Sets off on a Journey to cure arthritis.
This is his story
I was diagnosed with Systemic Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis when I was three years old. When I was 12 years old I went into a non-medical remission which lasted 9 years. When that remission ended with a full systemic flare, I was down and out for around 5 months. My life had quickly been changed, a distortion of my direction.
After fully recovering from the flare I ended up bicycling across the country while raising awareness that kids get arthritis too. I had a life changing experience on that bicycle journey when a kid with Systemic JIA, who was 7 years old, told me I was his hero. In many ways I was very much alike this kid when I was that age. I identified with being disabled.
Once I went into my 9 year remission at the age where decision making and moral thought process really becomes apparent my outlook on life began to change. I did not identify as much with my arthritis background. I knew that I had arthritis, I could still feel my bones creak, my joints hurt at the end of the day, but I did not feel limited in my actions. I had 9 years of what felt like a freedom from my disease, or at least a freedom from the worst parts of my disease.
Now I am sitting in Port Angeles Washington where I live and attend College. It is a sunny day (which will be one of very few for the autumn in the NW) and I should be outside but I have lately been having an identity crisis within myself. This crisis is wholly formed via my arthritis.
9 months ago I sustained a minor ankle strain/sprain while snowboarding at Mt. Baker. The injury caused inflammation to stick around I did not really ever recover, in fact, I’ve only declined. The inflammation spread to right ankle from all the pressure I was putting on that leg. Then, from walking funny, the inflammation spread into my left hip. Now it has spread into my left knee aswell as still being in my both my ankles and hip.
For 9 months I have been walking with a gait, I seem to almost have a drunken stupor or a zombiesque air about me. It has been hard, I cannot do the things I truly love to do. I can not go play disc golf today. I can not go for a hike today. I can not do anything long term that involves walking without experiencing a lot of pain.
I am identifying again with being disabled. I park my car a long ways from class due to full parking lots only wishing I had a handicapped tag. I turn down offers to enjoy the outdoors because it involves walking. In an awkward sense, I feel as though I am a kid again. The only problem is I am wearing the big boy pants of adulthood.
I have been struggling trying to get healthcare in Washington so I can switch medications. I can’t work most jobs because of required standing or walking. My only income is in the form of Financial Aid and the my past 3 terms of service with AmeriCorps (my education award) but I am even still waiting for those to be released.
In short, I feel a pretty well roundness of having arthritis as an adult. One thing I CANNOT do is give in. I do my best and damn darndest to be the optimist. That is why I am still going to bicycle across Europe next year with friends. Even though it pains me, literally pains me, to ride my bicycle. I want my disease to know that however much it tries, it cannot stop me. To succeed you need to overcome obstacles and adapt to distractions. Just because I have hit a wall does not mean I cannot climb that wall and reach the other side.
I currently identify with my disease, I think it only makes me a more powerful motivator for myself and more importantly others. I am selfish and want to be happy. What makes me happy is making others happy. I am selfless because I am selfish. It is that kid on my past bike tour, the one who called me his hero, that has truly put a period to what I want to do in life. Inspire and motivate, that is what I want to achieve with every person I encounter.
That is what I want to achieve with this bike 2nd bike tour.
I hope ya’ll stick around for it!
With support he can do anything, let his heroism motivate you.
Join the group European Bicycle Tour on facebook!