Gymnastics was a big part of my life, until I discovered I had juvenile idiopathic osteoporosis.
I was diagnosed six years ago, at the age of 13, but the condition began years earlier, with pain in my groin and lower legs, as well as my hands.
Today I have bone pain throughout my entire body every time I move, but it’s worse in my wrists and my spine.
The condition has changed my life a lot, and initially it was very difficult to accept.
I can’t play sports, because I’m very susceptible to breakages due to very low bone density, and I have to forego many social activities.
I can’t even be a spectator at the oval because I can’t risk being hit by a ball.
But my mum has always said “there’s always someone worse than you”, which has helped me find ways of dealing with it.
For the pain I take Panadol Osteo, and I try to protect my bones by strengthening my muscles through physiotherapy and swimming. Music is also a great distraction.
While in high school I had regular Disofenin infusions to strengthen the bone. This meant a two-hour drive to Princess Margaret Hospital from Bunbury, and two weeks of recovery. Now I’m having Denosunab injections.
But the most important thing for me, is to turn my focus away from the pain, and onto the big picture.
In 2011, I was the Research Australia WA State Youth Ambassador, and now I’m in studying biomedical science and molecular biology at Murdoch University.
I also want to help other young people like me. I’ve been a facilitator for a pain education program for kids (KOPE), run through Arthritis and Osteoporosis WA.
I’ve recently been diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Pott’s Disease (a form of tuberculosis), but I’m still determined to live my life to the full.