Being a young mom with active young children is a mixer of fun and work. But when you are in pain it's not so easy. Twenty-seven-year-old Lydia Hernandez and her husband Wilson have two beautiful girls, Angie and Lynette.
. Lydia and Lynette have JRA, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. Lydia was diagnosed with arthritis at the age of 3.
"I began to develop fevers. My parents didn't know why I was getting these high fevers. No other symptoms, just the fevers, then I started to develop rash and they found out that it was JRA," said Lydia.
At the age of 10 months, Lynette started developing fevers.
"I didn't jump into conclusions because my first born was good, then the fevers continued. At first we though it was because of an earache, she had an ear infection," said Lydia.
Shortly after that, she was diagnosed with JRA.
Lydia struggles to be the "perfect" mom , but she can't be that at times.
"If my hands are hurting, or being able to take a walk with my girls, or going out anywhere to enjoy the day. If I go out and it's cold or if it's raining and I'm in pain I really can't enjoy myself and I pretty much have to be at home during the winter, it's hard. I can't sign my daughters sometimes for their swimming classes," Lydia said.
Five-year-old Angie understands when her mom is in pain.
"I help her get her medicine when her hands are hurting, I take care of my little sister when my mom needs to lay in my bed and that's really all," Angie said.
And Lynette knows what to do when she is in pain. "I tell mommy and daddy," she said.
Jaime Scherer, staffperson from Chicago's Arthritis Foundation, says parents who have arthritis often feel segregated from other parents.
"That, you know, they can't just do, like Lydia said, she can't do normal things, she can't go for walks with her daughters or go to the grocery store some days because she hurts so bad some days people can't even get out of bed," Scherer said.
Support and public awareness about arthritis is just as important as research. This is why Angie plans to become a doctor.
"I wanna help people get not sick where other people could not get sick," said Angie.
This weekend is the first arthritis walk of the year. There are a number of them scheduled in several countries over the next couple of weeks. This is a opportunity to meet other people with arthritis and show your support. For more information go to www.arthritis.org.