A father’s day post about parenting and arthritis and how my son gives me all the motivation I need to go on.

Becoming a parent was one of the proudest moments of my life. I thought I had purpose before, but I had no idea. Those were just hobbies, things I did for enjoyment, to pass the time. The primary reason for my existence started in January 2019 when I was 34 years of age and my brave wife gave birth to our beautiful son, Dylan.

Dylan has quickly become my inspiration. My motivation. Every day that I drag myself through the pain or evolving disability that arthritis presents to me, he is at the forefront of my mind. I love that he is innocent. He doesn’t see my limitations, and as much as I can, I try to ensure he doesn’t see when I’m suffering too.

For now, everything I do amazes him. I am this superhero in his life that amuses him by doing ordinary things or blows his mind when ‘disappearing’ during a game of peekaboo. I want to remain his superhero for as long as I possibly can.

Becoming a father was also one of the scariest times for me. For the first time in my life, I was aware of the impact of my disease on those around me. Those days when I could not get out of bed were now not just mine or my employers’ problem, but my wife and son’s as well. When I could not lift, change or run the baby to nursery, it presented real difficulties. As a parent, I got the first taste of my mortality and the progressiveness of my illness because, for the first time, I was depended upon.

Dylan gave me a reason to go on. No matter how much pain, discomfort or what the world throws at me. Which, for like many of us in 2020, has been an inconceivable amount to deal with. I find a way out the other side for the sake of my son.

Who’s the real hero?

In 2019, after a significant flare, my body told me I could no longer play sport or music, the two constants of my life. So I started campaigning for arthritis awareness and writing on my website, joelvsarthritis.co.uk to share my story.

I want to make Dylan proud. After all, he has made me the strongest version of me I have ever been. He cannot say many words yet, but I speak up against arthritis because of him, and I hope that one day, he reads this back and knows that he was my light in some very dark days. He was my superhero.

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Arthritis and Psoriasis Patient Advocate, Writer And Consultant. Owner Of The Pain Company.

I share my story of Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis to raise awareness and specialise in pain, parenting (with disability) and the mental health impact of living with chronic illness. I write and campaign for leading charities and organisations. In addition, I provide patient experience consultancy for both charities and global healthcare companies.

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