Bella’s story

At 18 months old, Isabella-May woke up feeling poorly with a high temperature and sickness – nothing overly concerning. By the next day she was limping and still poorly so we took her to the GP who decided she had an ear infection. A week passed and she still wasn’t right. She was barely moving and limping when she did.

Photo of Bella

The GP told us again that she had an inner ear infection. The next day we ended up at our local hospital as she had suffered a convulsion triggered by a high temperature. The limp was still there but no one seemed concerned. Three weeks later and many trips to the GP she was still struggling to move. We were told it was from the infection and she’d be fine in a few weeks.

By Easter (one month on) she woke up and couldn’t walk. My beautiful healthy baby was in pain screaming, crying and everything I offered did nothing to help her. We went on for another three months with 20+ trips to our local emergency department and doctor. During this time she never walked. One day we refused to move from the local hospital until we got answers. Finally bloods were taken and arthritis was diagnosed. I’ve never cried so much. By this point I was no longer sure if it was relief or sadness. My baby had suffered so long with no help.

Within the week we saw the team at Southampton. We were prescribed medications and booked in for joint injections. Arthritis consumed our lives. Everyday carrying her round, picking her up off the floor when she just couldn’t take the pain any more. At two years old my daughter turned to me and said ‘Mummy take my legs off please they hurt’. No two year old should suffer like that. The day after her first injections she woke up, climbed out of bed and walked only a month after first meeting the team.

We’ve had a long journey but every day I see an improvement. My baby is almost back the happy care-free toddler she was before this condition took over our lives. And honestly, if hadn’t been for the team at Southampton I don’t think we would be where we are today. I owe them more than I could repay. I thank them a million times over. They’ve made my B smile again and I’m honestly more grateful than you’d ever know.

by Bella’s Mum