Long term health conditions

Sara - Interview 27

Female
Age at interview: 21
Age at diagnosis: 12

Brief outline: Sara was diagnosed in 1990 with Juvenile chronic arthritis. She has had a finger tendon repair & a hip replacement. Current medication Anti-TNF Humira injected 2/month, indometacin, co-codamol & Lansoprazole. Says that with her current medication she has more energy to do things like exercise. She attended a Tai Chi course for people with arthritis and really enjoyed it.

Background: Sara lives at home with her mother. Her education has been greatly interrupted by her condition but she did an advanced GNVQ in Information Technology and has applied to do an Executive Public Relations course. Ethnic background/nationality' White British

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Sara was diagnosed with juvenile chronic arthritis in 1990. Her initial medication was NSAIDs, and then methotrexate but she experienced severe nausea as a side effect so was put on oral steroids from age 15. She has had to have a finger tendon repair & hip replacement (01). Currently she is on Anti-TNF Humira injected twice a month, indometacin, co-codamol & Lansoprazole.

Her arthritis and the physical problems she has experienced with it, including the treatments, her stays in hospitals and the side effects of some of her medication, have all contributed to the disruption of her education. She had a home tutor that was arranged through her consultant, but that was only for four hours a week. Her GCSE years were disrupted by her medical problems but she managed to retake these exams at a later stage. She couldn't do her A-level's because she had missed too much of school. She went on to do an advanced GNVQ in Information Technology but it took her longer to complete it than normal. Having to interrupt her studies has been very frustrating for her. She says that she enjoyed her studies because it helped her feel generally better about things. Now she has applied to do an Executive Public Relations course. 

She says that with her current medication she has more energy to do things like exercise. She attended a Tai Chi course for people with arthritis and really enjoyed it. Sarah is hoping that the new drug will help her to do her new course and is looking forward to get a full time job afterwards. She feels that it is important to try and be as independent as she can. She does not like to ask her parents, boyfriend or friends for help.

During her secondary school years she went through a bad emotional period. She felt depressed and thought it was unfair for her to have arthritis and to experience pain and other physical problems that require medical intervention. She feels that she had to grow up rather quickly in order to cope with operations and treatments. One thing that helped her was to focus on the things she can/could do but admits it took her time to come to terms with her illness and with her bad emotions. 

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