Charlotte's Story

Arthritis isnít you, itís just a part of you. As long as you keep smiling it hasnít beat you.

By Charlotte Stacey

"The three words at diagnosis flipped my world upside down.  ďYou have ArthritisĒ isnít something I was expecting to hear at the age of 16. But at least I knew why Iíd been in so much pain for so long and so fatigued all the time and it explained the swelling at my joints. Not once did it cross my mind that I had a serious illness though.

"Living with arthritis is an up and down process. You never know when youíre going to be feeling good or when youíre going to be feeling rubbish! One day youíll be running around a football pitch the next youíll be in bed with a swollen knee crying in agony. Not only is it physically draining and painful, itís also mentally difficult. I didnít want to accept being ill, which resulted in me getting pretty depressed and at the same time I was carrying a cloud of guilt over my head because I didnít feel I had the right to be sad when there was so much worse going on Ė wrong. You are entitled to feel as sad as you want, this is your problem and you can deal with it however you please. If you want to cry, cry a river Ė it does not make you weak. But please, if you feel any worse Ė tell someone, there is so much support for you and remember youíre not alone, meet others like yourself and allow the feelings of isolation to be lifted.

"Daily activities can be a struggle, this can lead to frustration. Not being able to open the lid on the bottle or even wash your hair in the shower. Simple things we once took for granted. The fact that you have to plan everything and then nothing even goes to plan anyway because of the unpredictability of the disease. The way no one understands how youíre feeling and the look of disbelief they give you when you explain what is actually wrong with you Ė I mean you look perfectly healthy on the outside, thereís no way thatís happening to you right?! Ė Wrong, just ignore the people like this and concentrate on the ones who support you, and if it seems like theyíre having a bad day, just remember accepting it is just as hard for them as it is you. Ė But donít give up and donít be afraid to ask for help.

"It will get better Ė the worst part is diagnosis so if you can get through that, you can get through anything. The right treatment for you, will be found, even if it takes a little bit of time, so donít worry, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

"And finally, donít bury your head in the sand. There is a whole world of information out there, so surf the internet, read the leaflets and ask your doctors. The information isnít going to come to you so go look for it! Learn as much as you possibly can about your disease. And remember, arthritis isnít you, itís just a part of you. As long as you keep smiling it hasnít beat you."


The Childrens Chronic Arthritis Association (CCAA) would like to thank Charlotte for sharing her story with us. 

Charlottes Journey Blog - Charlotte also writes about her daily battle with the pain and other effects of arthritis in a blog.  Its full of really great stuff and is well worth a regular read.

The CCAA is a registered charity (No. 1004200) run by parents and professionals

General Secretary: Caroline L Cox, Ground Floor, Amber Gate City Wall Road, Worcester WR1 2AH
Tel: +44 (0)1905 745 595 | Fax: +44 (0)1905 745 703 | Email:

Patron: Prof. P Woo PHD. FRCP. FRCPCH
Patron: Prof. T Southwood BM. BS. FRCAP. FRDP. FRECPCH.
Patron: Dr N Hasson MB, ChB, FRCPCH.