The Gateway to our Future

Karen - Moscow, Idaho
Entered on May 8, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: science

I leaned over to give my grandma a big good-bye hug, but my mom stopped me. “She’ll bruise and her skin will rip, wave to her instead,” I was told. For a five-year-old this was hard to understand. I could hug or touch anyone else in my family, but why not my grandma? I learned it was because my grandma had been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. Her medications included gold salts, Methotrexate, Plaquenel, and Prednisone (steroids). From the long time use of Prednisone her skin became similar to tissue paper, and this is why we could not touch her. The medication as well as the disease affected all of her organs and connective tissue. My grandma became severely crippled from rheumatoid arthritis and the disease never went into remission. She died within seventeen years of being diagnosed.

Over two years ago my mom was also diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. She is currently taking a medication called Enbrel as well as Methotrexate. Enbrel was approved by the FDA within the last decade, so my grandma never had the chance to take this medication. Without the advancement in medical technology my mom would have been still been treated for her symptoms such as pain, instead of trying to prevent further joint and bone destruction.

Not only has the medication changed since my grandma’s time, but the aggressiveness of how it is treated has also changed. Rheumatologists currently want to prevent joint destruction from occurring. If they can prevent much of the joint destruction, the patient will not become crippled with ulnar deviation, as well as foot deformities, and lack of range of motion. I believe in the importance of scientific research.

Science has helped my family medically in many ways in the recent years, and will continue to give hope to, not only my family, but others as well. Without science, life would not be anything close to what we are use to. I never want to make a wave suffice as a good-bye ever again, so whenever I lean over a give my mom a hug, I am thankful for the miracles science can bring.