Aine's story

I was diagnosed with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA) when I was 13 years old.

When Covid came to Ireland, I was in final year of college where I was studying Early Years Education and Care. At the same time, I was coaching various teams 7 nights a week.

The challenges that Covid-19 brought to me was not being able to complete my final year in person and having to complete a dissertation online wasn’t easy. I also had to cocoon as I am in the vulnerable category. This was hard for me as I am a very outgoing person and have a very busy schedule with coaching and college and suddenly this was all gone. I found it hard not being able to do simple things like go to the shop, meet my friends and go to the doctors. I kept in contact with the doctors but was done through calls and not in person which was hard.

I had to go into my rheumatologist twice during the pandemic. One of my appointments was over the phone prior to these two visits in the hospital. My physio appointments also went online and was not in person anymore which I found difficult especially at the start as I was only re learning to walk again with my crutches. Thankfully, I was able to get out for walks even though I was on crutches this helped me greatly and gave me a break from the Zoom calls I was on daily.

All though lockdown and covid has been hard for everyone, I am grateful to have family and friends supporting and helping me through the pandemic.