Think back to when you were 12 years old. What was your favorite thing to do? For Mira, it’s being active in things like gymnastics and soccer. Unfortunately, after doing a front handspring at gymnastics, she tore her meniscus. Little did she know this would lead to a life changing diagnosis.
Mira tore her meniscus in 2016 and saw Dr. Hein, an OSMS orthopedic surgeon to get it repaired. The surgery went well, but after the surgery, it was taking a longer than normal time to recover.
“Nothing was healing or feeling better,” Mira says. “We didn’t know what was wrong, and then all my joints started to get swollen and started hurting so, Dr. Hein referred me to Dr. Tuttle.”
After going through tests with Dr. Tuttle, one of the only pediatric rheumatologists in Northeast Wisconsin, Mira was diagnosed with juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA). According to the Arthritis Foundation, “Juvenile idiopathic arthritis is the most common type of arthritis in children where the immune system mistakenly attacks the body’s tissues, causing inflammation in joints and potentially other areas of the body.” This was why she was unable to properly heal after the meniscus surgery.
Mira explains, “I was really tired, I was in pain, and I would literally limp to the bathroom in the morning.”
After the diagnosis, Mira started her treatment plan at OSMS. Part of Mira’s treatment plan includes infusions. These usually take a little more than two hours, but patients are offered heated blankets, snacks, and drinks, and are also able to watch TV, do homework, read, or play games to help pass the time.
When asked what it is like to have arthritis, Mira explains, “There are good days and bad days; you don’t know which one tomorrow is going to be. You have fatigue, pain and some weakness and have to do daily medications, injections and infusions. I have a lot of needle pokes in a year. The right medicine helps though.”
She continues, “The hardest part is I don’t look sick. I don’t have a cast or brace on so it is not obvious. Sometimes people don’t understand why I can’t stand or sit in the same position for a while or understand that I am in pain.”
By following her treatment plan, Mira is feeling better and is able to do the things all kids enjoy, like sleep overs and hanging out with friends. She was also able to play in the soccer season last year.
After having to miss out on some of this while going through treatment, Mira is excited she is getting back to the life she loves.