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Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado

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Books by Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado
Philomena's Story.: A Girl Lives With Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis.
By Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado
Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Rated "G" by the Author.

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Philomena ("Phillie"), a twelve-year-old girl, lives with a disease not many people are familiar with, but it causes her more problems than people realize.

My name is Philomena, Philomena Graves. I am twelve years old. I live in Sonora, California, with my family.

I look like a typical preteen on most counts, but once you see me you will see that I walk with forearm crutches and have a noticeable limp.

I have arthritis, a kind of arthritis that strikes children. It's not that common, but it does happen.

I wouldn't wish JRA on anyone. The pain I go through on a daily basis is at times unimaginable: some days are so bad it's all I can do to keep from crying, I hurt so much.

Sometimes the pain is so bad it takes me at least a half hour to get out of bed or get dressed in the morning; sometimes my parents have to help me.

Sometimes I am so stiff I can't feed myself or even function. This is when I usually end up in the hospital.

My type of arthritis (also known as "Still's disease") is systemic, meaning that my body systems can be affected, not just my joints. I get fevers. I get rashes. I get chest pain if my lungs or heart are affected. I have trouble seeing or hearing. I get an upset stomach and sometimes I throw up. It's really nasty.

I sometimes feel like I'm the only one going through this. If there is anyone else out there who knows what I am going through, please get in touch with me. I hate feeling like a freak at times!

At school, it is really bad. The kids tease me, think I am faking my pain. Well, let them live inside my body for once, let THEM see what it's like. NOT fun; bet they wouldn't even last an hour in my situation!! I don't have that many friends, and my grades have suffered because I usually end up missing a lot of school.

If it isn't because of doctors' appointments, it's because I have fallen sick--again!! It's really annoying as all get out!!

When I am not at the doctors' or am in the hospital, I like to read (Nancy Drew and the Babysitter's Club series are my favorites; I also like Lurlene McDaniel, but her books are too sad!!), write, watch "Hannah Montana" on tv, write stories or poems (there's this great site I found on the Internet called Authorsden; people of all ages and writing capabilities can post stories, poems, and articles, and people can read/review their work), and collect Beanie Babies (I have over two hundred of them; have been collecting them since I was six, six years now).

Not much of a life, mind you, but when one is living with chronic illness there's not much one can do, especially with something like what I am dealing with.

I have had JRA since I was two. I am now twelve, going on thirteen. That's almost 11 years of my life. I don't remember when I first got diagnosed, but I do remember living with pain; in fact, pain is the number one companion I have in life. Pain has become my friend; an unwanted friend, but still, a friend. Pain to me is like the pest who came to dinner and won't leave.

If I could find a way to evict Pain, I'd do it.

I have had over twenty surgeries on my hands, hips, knees, feet. Face more in the future. I have so much metal in me every time I go to the aeroport to pick up my granny Rose, I set the detectors off, and then I have to be searched by the police/security people; it's really embarrassing.

They even search my crutches, take the rubber ends off, look inside them, to see if "I'm hiding anything".

Boy, talk about mortifying!!

It can take me up to fifteen minutes to make it past the security area in the aeroport because I have to put up with this indignity. Then everyone's staring at me, and this is when I wish the floor'd open up and swallow me up whole!!

Well, I will write in here again. Take care and God bless!

~Philomena (Call me "Phillie") Rose Graves, aged 12 1/2.

P.S.: I was named after my grannies Rose and Philomena. Oh, why couldn't I have had a nice, normal name, a name like Ashley, Hannah, or Brittany??

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Reviewed by Poetess of The Soul Sheila G 10/14/2007
You write great stories Karen!
I hope many learn something from this severe crippling disease!
I have arthritis in my hands and arms, I know the unprictabilities of some days, you explain it very well!
STay Positive!
Warmly, Warrior Lady Purple Sheeeoox

STay Positive!
Reviewed by Michelle Kidwell Power In The Pen 10/2/2007
Its good to meet Philomena I just picked up three Lurlene Mcdaniel books the other day LOL
God Bless
Reviewed by Mary Coe 10/2/2007
A very good story. stories like you write help others with disabilities know that they are not alone. A good write.
Reviewed by Joyce Devenish 10/2/2007
This is a very good story but there is always hope. When I was young (70 years ago) there were no drugs that helped asthma so I missed a great amount of school. I was very thin and no one thought I would be around for long. Drugs can do good as well as harm. Philomena's Story is special and the picture tells the story. Good work.
Reviewed by Mr. Ed 10/2/2007
pain is the number one companion I have in life.

And you are a wonderful spokesperson for others afflicted with this malady, Phillie. You've truly shed some light on what many go through.
Reviewed by Ann Scarborough 10/2/2007
I too feel her pain, degenerative arthritis for me. But to evict Pain. Miracle thought is right! Wonderful write!
Reviewed by Georg Mateos 10/2/2007
Phillie, if I could I would have taken that pain of yours, it wouldn't have mattered none to the ones I already have and you could run with the wind for me.
Brave girl, my heart is going there, with you.
Reviewed by Rose Rideout 10/2/2007
I can feel her pain as I suffer with Rheumatoid and Austio Arthritis, this is an excellent write. Thank you for sharing.

Newfie Hugs, Rose
Reviewed by Karla Dorman, The StormSpinner 10/2/2007

Engaging storytelling makes you want to be friends with this girl, find a way to ease her pain. You are that good of a writer. Excellent.

(((HUGS))) and love, Karla.
Reviewed by Jeanette Cooper 10/2/2007
I loved this thought: "If I could find a way to evict Pain, I'd do it." A miracle kind of thought statement. Good story.

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