Through all the pain, swelling and treatments, Shelby remains positive and doesn’t let her juvenile arthritis diagnosis stop her. Shelby loves to advocate for her invisible illness and service dogs.
At the age of 6, Shelby developed a rash on her knees, ankles, elbows and hands. Her pediatrician thought it might be an allergic reaction and increased her allergy medication for the weekend. The rash went away, but Shelby kept saying her hands and feet hurt. She’d been telling her parents about the pain on and off for a few years, even crying in her sleep. Doctors kept saying it was growing pains.
When Shelby woke up with extremely swollen hands and feet, a pediatric nurse who was a friend of the family suggested they have the doctor run tests to check for juvenile arthritis. The bloodwork indicated a problem and Shelby’s pediatrician referred her to a pediatric rheumatologist at the University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics. Shelby was diagnosed with polyarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA). Since her diagnosis, Shelby has also been diagnosed with amplified musculoskeletal pain syndrome (AMPS), dysautonomia and complex regional pain syndrome.
Through all the pain, swelling, multiple doctor visits and treatments, Shelby remains positive and doesn’t let her diagnosis stop her. She is currently pursing higher education and loves dancing, writing, listening to her vinyl records and applying makeup. Shelby also enjoys playing, snuggling and shopping with her service dog, Lex. She loves to advocate for her invisible illness and service dogs.
After graduating high school, Shelby stays active working part time at her local Fareway and continuing her education through Purdue University Global’s online program, majoring in Nutrition.