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
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
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
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.