I am so sorry your daughter is going through this. But I understand 100%. At the age of 12 I began having pain in my right knee. It progressively got worse and turned into not just pain but intense swelling. Finally my mother took me to our family doctor about it and he sent us on to a pediatric rheumaologist. Shortly after I turned 13 I was diagnosed with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis. I couldn't believe it... I never knew people my age could have arhritis!
I am now 20 and still have JRA. Some people can grow out it, so I've been told. I choose to believe that. It just jasn't happened for me yet. :) I now have JRA in all joints except (normally) my shoulders, neck, hips, and back (Thank God!!)
Over the years I have been to many doctors and have tried methotrextate (made me feel sick, didn't do much for the pain and swelling, and made my hair fall out a month after I quit taking it), Enbrel (may have helped some, but not enough at the time for me to want to continue), Ibuprofen (took very high amounts - 600 mg 3x a day, 7 days a week for a few years... amazingly no known damage caused by that!!), other otc meds that did not help very much for very long, and right now I am on Prednisone. It is AMAZING. However, I have been taking roughly 10mg-20mg/day for about 5 months now. I HAVE finally experienced the side effects of weight gain (10+ lbs w/in 2months) and "moon face". Please if your daughter needs to be on Prednisone for any amount of time try to keep the dosage low and do not use it for more than a month or two! This is my only option for right now b/c I am currently w/o insurance. As soon as possible I will be trying to get something better!
A BIG BIG HELP are the steroid injections I get in my knees and have also gotten in my elbows. At this point I need knee and elbow replacements. With prednisone, I live and function JUST like everyone else :) The 2-3 times I have been off of it in the past 5 months I have ended up bedridden. I highly highly recommend the injections- hurts to get them but when they are done right the swelling, pain, and inflamation go away. How long this lasts depends on the person getting them, type used, and how well the doctor gets it into the joint.
I have gabbed enough so a few last pieces of advice:
-Encourage her. Don't let her get down. JRA and the pain that comes with it is VERY VERY tough on her, you, and the entire family. (IF that is what she has!) But with love, perseverance, hope, and FAITH, she will be ok!
-Try Barbara Allen's diet before she gets into any major meds. When stuck to, it works wonders. It is very hard to do but with your help she can do it. This is the only way I have been able to stay off of medicine in the past. (Should get the willpower to do it again!)
-Don't let her bones deteriorate like mine have. If a complete diet change is not enough, she should probably be on something to control the inflamation and protect her joints.
-Make sure she stays active. A sedentary life- no matter how great the pain- will only make matters worse. She needs to keep her muscles strong to help support those joints.
-Educate yourselves on all possible conditions and treatments. This, besides faith and a positive attitude, will be your best defense.
Alright alright I'm done. For now. But if you ever need advice, have questions, or anything at all- I would be more than happy to talk to you or your daughter!