In 2016, Hannah Barker was diagnosed with juvenile idiopathic arthritis. While the disease has changed her life, Hannah says it no longer controls her.
Leading up to her diagnosis, Hannah had quite a few health problems. After injuring her wrist in a fall, a string of doctors told her it was a sprain that would heal over time. A year later, her wrist still hurt. She was beginning to think she would be stuck with the pain indefinitely. Her mother, who works for a rheumatologist, suggested she see a doctor at her clinic. Within ten minutes of her visit, the rheumatologist acknowledged her pain, and an ultrasound led her doctor to diagnosis Hannah with juvenile arthritis (JA).
While Hannah immediately started treatment, finding relief was not easy. Learning which medications would take away her pain without causing intolerable side effects took a long time. Through it all, she has remained positive and is grateful so many different medications are available to people with arthritis. Her current treatment has helped her control her pain enough that she’s able to live her life unrestricted.
While having arthritis has dramatically changed Hannah’s life, she also sees the benefits of having a chronic disease. Through the Arthritis Foundation, she’s been introduced to an entire community of people all affected by arthritis. She finds support and strength in this community of people she now calls her friends.
“Although having arthritis has changed my life, it no longer controls it,” says Hannah. “I am so appreciative of all the different medicines that are available to young people like me, and I am thankful for the doctor who listened to me and was willing to go above and beyond to help.”