Welcome to My Fundraising Page!
My family, friends and I are joining Canadians coast-to-coast in the Walk to Fight Arthritis. I am walking and raising funds to help find a cure and support the over 4.6 million Canadians who live with arthritis including my daughter Cyerra who was recently diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis in July 2016. Rheumatoid Arthritis is an autoimmune disease where the body attacks it's own healthy cells instead of defending them against disease. In Cyerra's case, it attacks her joints and can eventually attack her organs. Cyerra was hit hard and agressively with the autoimmune disease. It started last year in April when we noticed Cyerra started walking with a limp and she said her knee was aching a little. A month later we noticed the limp started to get worse and she started feeling pain in both her wrists so we booked an appointment to see a sports medicine doctor. He ordered xrays and prescribed some temporary pain medications. The xrays came back negative and he ruled out cancer. The pain medications also didn't work. We saw this doctor on and off for a few months. He ordered an MRI for her and it wasn't for another 6 months. We decided to also try physiotherapy and that was obviously the worst idea ever, but at the time we wanted to try everything to help her and find answers. I get emotional thinking back to when she was doing physiotherapy and the pain she had to endure. She did every exercise because she wanted to get better and just be cured of whatever it was that was causing her so much pain. During this time, Cyerra was busy with high school exams and getting ready for graduation. But we noticed she hardly had any energy and was losing her appetite. She also started losing a significant amount of weight. We had to go through 3 dress fittings for her grad dress because she couldn't fit into her dress, it was too big. Her condition worsened and she lost over 30 lbs and weighed about 79 lbs. This was not normal for an 18 year old who was 5'3 tall. You could literally see the outline of her bones in her body. She couldn't get out of bed by herself anymore and weight bear. She needed to be carried in and out of bed, she had to be bathed and dressed and assisted to go to the bathroom. At this time the pain was just unbearable. Cyerra graduated high school and received her diploma in a wheelchair, but she did it and that's all that mattered to her. She went to her grad dinner and dance and she danced the night away with her friends even though she was in so much pain. But she had so much fun and she was happy. Then we went to see another doctor for a second opinion and we managed to rush the MRI and got it done right away. This doctor took fluid samples from her knees and conducted other tests including blood work. She was poked with thick needles countless of times and she took it like a champ. Meanwhile, Cyerra was now in a wheelchair fulltime. She was in a wheelchair for about 3 months. We finally received the results a couple of weeks after and the doctor diagnosed her with Rheumatoid Arthritis. From there we were referred to a Rheumatologist at HSC. I've never even heard of this autoimmune disease. As a mother, I worry about my kids even if they just have the flu, but an autoimmune disease? I started doing my research on everything on RA. I obsessed over the disease. So fast forward to now, Cyerra is seeing her Rheumatologist every couple of months and has to get bloodwork done every 3 months. She has been prescribed a bazillion medications which she takes everyday. These include cancer medications. But she doesn't have cancer? I know right that's what I thought too. But it's part of the treatment until it no longer works for her, then the doctor will come up with another "recipe" of medications. When her flare ups get really bad, her Rheumatologist has to inject steroids into her joints. We are also working on a healthy diet which can help with her flare ups. Cyerra is also gaining her weight back. We also decided to put University on hold until Fall of 2017 because her health and recovery was priority. Cyerra started walking on her own again in October of 2016. It was such an emotional day for all of us when she surprised us by walking without her crutches. I cried because i was so happy. Her little brother was so happy because he can finally hold her hand again while they walked. Her doctor told us she will eventually get a full knee replacement because it caused permanent damage, but right now we are just focused on taking it one day at a time and hopefully she will go into remission soon or one day so her body can take a break from all the medications. My family and friends tell me all the time how strong I am with going through all this with Cyerra, having a new baby and the passing of my dad just a few months ago. But to be honest, it's Cyerra who has been so brave and strong throughout all of this. I can't even imagine the emotional and physical pain she went through before treatment and the pain she feels now when she gets a flare up. Throughout her journey with RA, Cyerra had her emotional ups and downs but she managed to stay strong and didn't let RA stop her from doing anything. She has so much motivation and is determined to do everything she has always wanted to do. It made her a stronger person. Cyerra has goals and so much to do, so RA can go f@#$ itself because she won't let it get in the way of the present and her future.
I wanted to tell everyone a little bit of her journey with RA because it is now part of our lives. There is no cure. By helping raise funds you are supporting the next advancement in research, the next great treatments and the Society’s suite of pain management programs. The Society has been the largest non-government funder of arthritis research in Canada, investing over $195 million in projects that have led to breakthroughs in the diagnosis, treatment and care of people with arthritis.
There is no cure for arthritis; we need to work together to create an arthritis free future.
Please join the movement and make a donation to support this important cause. If you would like to join us for the walk and be part of our team, please register under the team "Rheummates".
Thank you so much!
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