|Anna and her brother Joel at a recent family wedding|
Anna is about ten days into her second year at college, after a good summer with a full-time office job and living on campus, building relationships with new friends. After last year's classes, she has a better picture of what career path she doesn't want and other areas she would like to explore and persue. (Isn't that what the college years are all about?!). She's sticking with the same major course of study of Human Development and Family Science but choosing a different minor.
While Anna's joints are doing well, her left eye never did settle down completely with the macular edema, even after the ocular injection at the end of spring. We've been taking trips to the retina specialist about every 4-6 weeks all summer to keep tabs on the swelling. This past month's OCT (the picture of the back of the eyeball) showed that the swelling is a little worse than the July appointment. We return in mid-October, and another ocular injection is an option if the swelling does not improve.
The GOOD news is that Anna continues to focus on the journey of life in general instead of the JA Journey being at the forefront. It probably helps that we cut out the monthly Remicade infusions nearly a year ago. (Even though that situation created more of a challenge in controlling Anna's diseases.) Those 4-hour appointments, in addition to appointments with the rheumatologist and the eye specialist (every appointment 20 miles away through heavy traffic, which could take anywhere from 30-60 minutes) kept Anna's issues at the forefront of our minds and lives. We've gained a lot of perspective in the last year or so. Anna was a Child Life Volunteer for her spring semester, and she saw patients and families who practically live at the children's hospital. My husband, in his work setting, is getting to know a college student whose sister has been in the hospital for a few weeks now. The more I listen to people, the more I realize that ALL of us have "something" that we're dealing with. After 18+ years of this JA Journey, I hear other stories of even greater trials and hardships that people are facing and think, "With God's help, we can certainly handle this!" Jesus is our strength when we are weak.
For now, I'm glad that Anna is smiling and is enjoying being a young adult. She truly is finding JOY in this leg of the journey.