I believe that on the route to Happiness you need to have family and friends to help you along the way. I can’t think of anything emotionally or physically that you could deal with by yourself. A big inspiration to me that knows how to deal with having a painful disease is my sister, Dujana, but goes by DJ. She has Rheumatoid arthritis at the age starting at 14, for about two years now. I don’t understand how she could deal with the pain and stay up all the time while having it. A big part of it is because she has her friends, me, my mom, dad and grandma to help her out and keep her going throughout all of it.
Emotionally, I think if you are going through a rough time you need someone to talk to. My sister has talked to us about her pain and stuff and how she feels, but it still makes me sad because I still don’t know what the pain actually feels like inside. I was the lucky one that grew up normal and healthy and my sister was the unlucky one that got a terrible disease and a bunch of other stuff wrong with her. For being so young, having a terrible disease must be awful. She doesn’t go to school full time because after a day her joints swell and she feels severely sick by the end of the school day. She hardly sees any of her friends except for her best friend that sticks by her side through out the whole time. I think she feels lonely at times to stay at home while everyone else is at school.
I spend a lot of time with my sister. I consider her as like one of my best friends. We laugh, joke around and have stupid and deep conversations at times. I think it takes her mind off of everything going on around her and I am proud of that. I hate to see my sister in pain, I might not show it, but it actually hurts me inside. A lot of the doctors that we have took her to all thought that it was “in her head”. Imagine how it made her feel to here that she was faking it. I know that I would feel bad. We, finally, took to see a rheumatologist at the children’s hospital, Dr. Hollister, who specializes in rheumatoid arthritis. He was the only one that believed her. He put her on a lot of medication and steroid shots to see if it would help with the pain. She has been taking one of the drugs, Enbrel, and it has helped, but even if she is off of it for a week, she goes back to how she started. My mom doesn’t like her on it because it could cause cancer and have her gain weight. On the other hand, it is the only thing that relieves her from the pain.
Before all of this had happened, my sister was big into sports. She played volleyball and tennis. She was good at both of them. Once she was diagnosed with arthritis, she couldn’t play any more then 10 minutes of active play because if it was longer her joints would swell and would be all in pain for the next few days. She wanted to play tennis and volleyball throughout high school and even college, but due to the disease, it stopped her from conquering that dream. She misses it so much and she always tell me that I am the one that is living the life for her.
My sister has stayed happy throughout this terrible experience, but then has her sad and mad moments at times. My mom, me, and her best friend, Andi, try to keep her up and smiling. I have heard her question why she was the one chosen to have all these bad things happen to her and she finally has given up the chance to accept it and believes that later in life something good will happen to her. If she didn’t have anyone, she wouldn’t be anywhere or have anyone to make her happy. The pain that she experiences must be terrible. I wouldn’t mind taking some of that pain away from her to know what it feels like because I love her that much and don’t like seeing my sister in pain.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.