TESTIMONY At 12 I Was Told I Had Growing Pains But The Truth Was Much Worse


At 12, Emily Williams began to feel severe pain in her legs. But the doctors, wanting to be reassuring, mentioned growth pains, very normal in a teenager.

However, less than a year later, struggling to walk, Emily, who lives in Cardiff, was diagnosed with crippling juvenile idiopathic arthritis requiring complex spine surgery.

Disturbing pains

« I was happy and healthy growing up. I had a great childhood and rarely went to the doctor Emily told the newspaper The Sun. « But one morning in 2010, I woke up and couldn’t move my legs. I was in agony she continued. Her mother thinks Emily is faking not to go to school but ends up taking her to the doctor to perform various tests. ” The results showed nothing abnormal. she indicated.

A rare disease

In 2011, after a “lost” year with her doctor, Emily’s mother, Jayne, paid for a consultation with a private rheumatologist who established the correct diagnosis, namely the seronegative juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. Emily is only 13 years old. This long-term condition causes joint pain, swelling, and stiffness and typically affects the hands, feet, and wrists. Frightened, confused, the young girl does not understand what this “medical sentence” means. ” After that I was put on oral steroids as a quick fix and luckily everything started to improve other than the pain in my neck she declared.

Giving up hobbies

« I didn’t think I was going to make it past 18 because I was so depressed with what my life had become, but now at 24 I’m trying to live my best life regardless she pointed out. Because Emily, at 13, has to give up her two favorite hobbies: horse riding and dancing. At school, things get complicated for the young girl. ” Because I didn’t walk very well, I was bullied and slowly became excluded she remembered. Her classmates laugh at her and Emily’s depression increases.

Several surgeries

Emily underwent a CT scan which revealed an injury caused by arthritis at the top of her spine. The young girl is then recommended to undergo surgery, which she thinks is benign. But this operation halo-gravity traction completely changed my life “. In October 2011, Emily found herself with four metal pins attached to her head, a metal halo around it, and 20 pounds tied up in order to repair her injury. ” I had to lie on my back for five weeks and receive round-the-clock care. The nurses had to turn me over every few hours to avoid bedsores, and they had to wash me. My toilet was a bedpan. I was so embarrassed she remembered.

Learn to walk again

Her days, Emily spends them alone watching movies. A few visits help her pass the time, but in those moments the young girl does everything to hide her feelings. When the device is finally removed, Emily learns that it didn’t help, the wound in her neck didn’t heal. A second intervention is planned. This time, a metal screw is inserted into his neck to fuse the bones. Fortunately, this operation succeeded the first time. But, after her convalescence, the young girl spent so much time lying down that she had to relearn to walk.

Not strong enough

Absent from school for a year, she used a wheelchair to get around during her convalescence. ” I was walking further and further each day, but on one walk I passed out because I was not used to standing still she noted. This fainting took her back to the hospital for another two weeks. But, after she returns home, the nurses realize that she is not strong enough to be at home without their support. ” I was devastated. I had to go back to the hospital for another two weeks until they thought I was strong enough again. ».

A failed adolescence

Due to her illness, Emily misses her adolescence. ” When I was 16, the emotions that I had suppressed for so long began to rise. she declared. ” I was depressed but I didn’t want to tell my family about it. I got angry and I was angry for the smallest things she continued. She particularly attacks her mother, the person she is closest to. After finishing school, Emily begins to study hairdressing, completes her first year but then drops out due to the severity of her arthritis pain. In subsequent years, Emily fight against his body when the pain takes over.

Positive about the future

Now, when she’s not working, Emily focuses on her part-time online university studies. However, in December 2021, her life took a positive turn. Emily met her boyfriend with whom she got engaged in June 2022. He is, according to her, the first person who really understood her daily life. Appreciating their engagement, the couple waits to move in together until Emily completes her studies as a psychotherapist. For her part, the young woman also carries out actions to raise awareness of her condition so that other children do not feel as alone as she does. ” It was a really tough trip. I started sharing my story on Instagram. I Tried To Change My Life And I Finally Get Help From An Amazing Therapist Who Helps Me Manage My Emotions she indicated. ” At 16, I didn’t think I was going to make it past 18, but now I’m here trying to be happy and positive about my future. she concluded.

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