Jennie Garth’s Balancing Act
The 90210 star talks about her healthy lifestyle, volunteering, and parenting a child with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis.
Your daughter Lola was recently diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. What were her symptoms and what treatments are you pursuing?
Our 5-year-old was just not herself. At first she would fatigue easily and wanted to be carried everywhere. At times she complained that her knees hurt, or her fingers, or her elbows. My husband and I just chalked it up to growing pains, and her fussiness as a typical, needy 5-year-old. Then she started to get rashes while in the bathtub. But when they went away, again we didn't think much of it.
Shortly after, she started getting high fevers that [kept coming back]. This persisted for nearly five weeks during which her lethargy continued, accompanied by the rash which came back over most of her body.
About two weeks into her fevers our regular pediatrician, who is wonderful, sought the opinions of doctors at a very well known hospital here in LA. Our daughter's blood tests were very abnormal. She was admitted and after nine days of testing and prodding they still were not able to determine what was causing her symptoms.
Since they could not treat her because they were not sure what the illness was, we decided to take her home and monitor her because we felt being in the hospital was actually making her depressed and worsening her condition. The last five days in the hospital she did not get out of bed at all. We went home and researched it on our own, with help from friends and family in the medical profession until we found web sites for JRA, which seemed to match her symptoms.
We brought her to an incredible specialist at UCLA hospital, who then treated her for "still's disease," a rare form of JRA. They put her on [the drug] Naprosyn, which stopped the fevers immediately, and she stayed on that for several months. Her rash remained constant until a short course of steroids. She responded well to the treatment, and is now in remission.
My husband and I have never been more thankful to God, that we were able to get her through this and that she is back to her old self, running and playing.