Hello, my name is Annie and I am fourteen years old from Chicago. When I was eleven, I was diagnosed with primary Sjogren's. Living with Sjogren’s is very difficult especially as a child. One of my worst symptoms is joint pain, most of my joint pain occurs in my knees and my wrists, which can make simple things like going up stairs or even writing difficult. Another one of the symptoms I struggle with is parotid gland swelling. A couple of years ago, I was in the hospital and my parotid gland was about the size of a golf ball. I was very sore and was in excruciating pain. Lastly, I suffer from dry mouth and dry eyes. I must constantly have a water bottle and eye drops with me to help make these symptoms more bearable.
Living with Sjogren's isn’t just dealing with physical pain as some may think, Sjogren’s also causes problems in my social life. Sjogren's causes me to miss a lot of school which causes me to miss out on different things with my friends. Sjogren’s makes it difficult for me to do “normal kid things” like sports and riding a bike. Sjogren’s is also very hard for friends and teachers to understand because there isn’t really any way to tell that I’m any different from a normal kid. That is why it is really important to me to inform the world about pediatric Sjogren’s.