"So I have JRA…"

I recently booked a weekend away in October for my one year wedding anniversary! It’s a strange feeling where it seems like just yesterday I was walking down that aisle, but at the same time it feels like we have been married for ages already. This milestone has caused me to reflect on how fortunate I was to find a supportive, caring and understanding partner when I was just seventeen years old.

Prior to meeting my husband, I dated on and off but struggled to find someone who understood the balance of helping me when I needed it, but not pitying me all the time. Some boyfriends went too far in helping me and made me feel like I was incapable of doing anything without assistance, while others seemed to be in denial that I had any limitations at all. Thankfully, my husband seemed “to get it” from the beginning. I still remember the day I told him I had JRA. We were kayaking together with a bunch a friends and were momentarily alone from the rest of the group. I had been wanting to tell him for a while, I wanted him to know before Junior Prom of course! I remember feeling so anxious about this disclosure and how he would react. I nervously said, “So I have JRA..” “Ok” He said. “Do you know what that means?” I responded. “Yeah” he said. And that was about the extent of our conversation! Granted we were only in high school and I am not sure either of us knew what that meant for our future together, but I was relieved that my JRA was a “non-issue” in our relationship. Now of course, having JRA has caused us to face some unique challenges together and our marriage has only just begun, but it has never stopped us from having the life we imagined 10 years ago as teenagers. However, I know that I am fortunate in finding my husband and this is not always the case.

As a result this post is dedicated to all the husbands, wives, friends, sisters, brothers, parents and caregivers who have supported those of us with JRA. Who have pushed us to complete our goals despite our limitations. Who have not accepted having JRA as an excuse for overcoming any challenge or obstacle that may lie in our paths. Who have rubbed our sore knees, massaged our swollen wrists and administered our injectable medications. Who have laughed with us, cried with us and carried us. We thank you…



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