Natalie was diagnosed with JRA yesterday (April 3rd 2021). She is almost 2.5 to the day and has been having problems with stiffness and pain for five months. Adding this tab to my blog is currently surreal. as her mother, I anticipate that I will soon be well versed in this disease, just as I am my own food allergies and dyslexia.  Right now, it doesn't seem real that this is now a lasting presence in our lives, even though we are just naming what we have been dealing with for five months.

Here is where we are starting from at the beginning of April 2012.

Update: August 2012, four months later
Here are the posts related to JRA from the last few months.

Adapting and Preparations 
Joint Injection Day
Day After Injection Day
Home Injection Tips
The Eye Doctor with a Toddler
Hooray for Ladybuzz!

 So where are we four months after diagnosis?  We are in a great place.

Natalie is back to being like any other almost three year old.  Once she got the joint injections, she quickly gained back the skills she had lost, such as climbing on chairs and going up and down stairs.  She started sleeping through the night uninterrupted and shortened her afternoon nap.  After four months of methortrexate and about three months of physical therapy (about four visits and nightly stretches at home), she is gaining new skills all the time.  She is climbing ladders at the play ground, balancing on one foot, peddling a tricycle, pumping on a swing, and jumping!  She can squeeze her hands, dress herself, and turn door knobs.  And all this has allowed her to go back to the potty training that was interrupted by the on set of her disease. 

Sometimes I just stand back and marvel at her.  The day at the park in that last picture I was ready to cry with happiness seeing how easily she could maneuver on all the equipment (we hadn't been back to this park since her treatment).  It was hard to believe this was the same girl who came running to me crying because Ring-a-Round-the-Rosie was "too hard."  She is so happy and energetic now.  The best part of her treatment was seeing her smiling again, and then seeing everyone we know noticing the change in her.  She is constantly dancing (she loves hula) and running around the house.

February 2013 Update:
Natalie continues to do awesome.  Her Methotrexate controls her symptoms. Recently, she has taken to jumping ... constantly.  Her dance moves continue to improve.  Gone is the girl who wouldn't get out of bed, as she now visits us in the middle of the night and often needs to be brought back to her room at nap time.  The only area I worry about regularly is her hands.  They don't seem to hurt her, but she does seem behind her peers in her fine motor skills.  I am hopeful that starting preschool in the fall will both help her and give me an outside opinion on her development.  Of course, I also worry about a flare occurring once we start school and how we will deal with it. 

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