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  • Writer's pictureJulie Beausoleil

Early Diagnosis vs Later Diagnosis

Hello, hello, hello! It’s a brand new day, and a brand new blog.

I’ve been reflecting, and realized that my perspective on JIA (Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis) only comes from having been diagnosed at such an early age: 18 months old.

But, many people are diagnosed later in life, whether it’s in their childhood, teenage years, or thereafter. This often creates distinct ‘pre-arthritis’ and ‘post-arthritis’ memories and experiences.

Early diagnoses and later diagnoses are mutually exclusive; I will never know what it’s like to experience a later diagnosis, and someone with a later diagnosis will never know what it’s like to experience an early one. We can never live the alternative firsthand. However, I believe that there are benefits and drawbacks to both, which is worth the discussion.

The Early Diagnosee vs. The Later Diagnosee

Here are my takes on The Early Diagnosee (also known as (AKA) having arthritis my whole memorable life) and The Later Diagnosee (AKA having memory of the change between ‘pre-arthritis’ and ‘post-arthritis’) — Yes, I made up these terms.

Being an early diagnosee comes with its benefits. I don’t know what I’m missing out on. What does it mean to feel “normal”? How does it feel to have that “normal”/pain-free feeling taken from you by this chronic condition?

What I consider pain-free might feel painful to someone who knows what it’s like not to have arthritis. Or, maybe what I consider a ‘normal’ or ‘pain-free’ feeling IS actually how being pain-free feels. I’ll never know — I cannot compare the pre-arthritis and post-arthritis feeling. I can only compare my good days and my bad days. Another benefit is that I’ve had my whole life to learn how to manage this disease. The early diagnosee status enabled me to manage my condition without feeling the burden of taking extra steps to do the managing, since for me it’s just life — managing has always been my “normal.”

However, these factors can also be considered drawbacks. I don’t know what I’m missing out on, so I don’t feel the loss of losing my ‘normal’ life, BUT I never got to experience life without arthritis affecting it. I’ve also never been able to NOT think about managing my disease — it’s always been there. I imagine the later diagnosis benefits and drawbacks are the same, since the factors I mentioned can be considered benefits AND/OR drawbacks. They are subjective. But again, I cannot be sure since I never lived it, thanks to the mutual exclusiveness principle.

Clearly, “normal” is subjective. My normal is different from yours, and I can try and imagine your normal, and you can try and imagine mine, but at the end of the day, we can never truly know. Do you have thoughts on my take? A different perspective on the early/later diagnosee status? Let me know.

The more we share with each other, the more our intelligence develops and our minds open. Until next time,

Julie, AKA The Early Diagnosee

DISCLAIMER: This is my personal opinion. I am not a doctor. What I experience is likely very different from what you or anyone else will experience. I simply want to promote discussion and by no means am telling you how to feel, or how to treat your condition. Thanks for tuning in!

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