1. My name is still Cat, and I still have Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis, even though the only things still juvenile about me are my sense of humour and chubby cheeks.
2. Unfortunately I'm no longer 27. In fact, I'm no longer even in my 20s as I turned 30 2 days ago.
3. I've been working as a doctor for the last 3 years, and for the most part I'm really enjoying it. My arthritis is not.
4. I've had another baby. The boy kind this time, and he's super cute, but trying to wrestle a 7 month old (who does not give two shits that you have arthritis) into a pair of leggings when your hands are hurting is not my idea of fun. Being pregnant when you have JIA is also not my idea of fun. The good drugs aren't allowed, and getting pissed to mask some of the pain is also frowned upon. I actually ended up being induced a few weeks early because things got so bad. Luckily he came out all cute, so it was worth it in the end.
5. In terms of arthritis - which, lets face it, is why we are all here - I'm not in a great place. I'm waiting to get put back on the good drugs and in the meantime I'm in a fair amount of pain and very reliant on anti-inflammatories and steroids to get me through each day.
6. A few months back whilst attempting to apply fake tan I realised that I couldn't move my shoulder very much, and not wanting to continue with streaky tan lines I thought I better mention it to my rheumatologist. I've been injected with steroids, both in my butt and in the joint directly, and I'm also having physiotherapy. Nothing is working, and I'm starting to worry that I'll never have a good tan again. Oh, and it makes every day tasks really fucking difficult. That, too.
7. This December will be 10 years since I had my hip replacement. I know it hasn't happened yet, and so technically doesn't belong in this list, but I'm pretty damn excited about it.
8. I have now had arthritis for over half my life. Celebrations on the day itself included changing many a shitty nappy (the baby's, not mine), drinking about 50 cups of tea (the baby prefers blowing raspberries in the middle of the night to sleeping) and upcycling a bookcase. That day may not have been the best example, but I'm pretty proud of everything I have achieved despite the hand that life has dealt me. Besides, it's nice to be able to do such 'normal' things, because if you'd told me 15 years ago that I'd be wiping my kids' bums when back then I couldn't even wipe my own, I doubt I would have believed you.
So as you can probably tell arthritis is still very much a big part of my life, as it is for (seamless link to WAD related facts coming) 10 million others including 12,000 children and adolescents.
Thanks for doing your bit for arthritis awareness and reading this far. 'Til next time, when hopefully I will bring you news of the good drugs and much improved tan lines.