Almost three weeks ago my sister Emily physically could not get out of bed, as all the joints in her body were "frozen".   It took her ten minutes to figure out how to sit up, she then had to humble herself and called out to me to help put her feet to the floor and walk down the hall. This was all after she and I used a step stool to get her into bed the night before. Luckily we were seeing symptoms over the previous two weeks and she had an appointment with her rhumatologist that day.

When he saw her, he said "You don't look like you did 6 weeks ago." This was true. On December 3,  Emily woke up with a swollen hand, to which two different doctors said it was carple tunnel or tendonitis.  A week later her opposite knee was swollen, with no injuries to explain. On December 14, she then happened to look at her ankle and that too was swollen and looked deformed. These physical symptoms were what I and others could see, but what others could not see is the excrutiating pain and fatigue she was experiencing all over her body with even the smallest of tasks.

Bloodwork shows her "Rheumatoid Factor" is positive, which means she has a type of inflammatory arthritis - or a form of Rhumatoid Arthritis.  At this point she is trying heavy meds to help alleviate the pain and attack the cells that are attacking her joints. Every day is different and brings new challenges or small defeats. This is a very misunderstood disease and she never thought at 32 she would be keeping a pain journal and have a pill case in her purse.  Yesterday she could not light a candle with a lighter, last week I had to help her turn on the shower, as she could not do it herself. It takes two hands to turn the key to her car, open doors and it is killing her that I can't chase my nephew when he asks!

I know one day she will climb the Rockies again, run another 5K... Maybe even another 10K (with me by her side), visit great friends in great cities....and so much more.... But all she wants right now is a "Good night sleep". Please help me buy her a new bed so she can have restful nights and get out of bed with a little ease.  Any additional money will be used to make accomodations now or in the future such as replacing the shower handle.  She also wants to see a nueropath which will be out of pocket.  

Most of you who know her know she doesn't ask for help so a warm thank you in advance and I hope your 2015 will be as blessed as I know hers will be!!

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Emily Faith Johnson 
New Britain, CT
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