Ginger has loved horses for as long as she can remember, and her daughter, Slade, grew up on horseback. Before Slade could even ride, she was with her mother in barns and stables while Ginger worked. Slade is now five years old, and has been diagnosed with Juvenile Arthritis (JA). Having played an incredible role in Ginger and Slade’s lives, Thermotex was honored to talk to Ginger who shared the story of her daughter’s strength and their family’s journey with JA.
Ginger works with Thermotex on horses
Long before her daughter’s diagnosis Ginger was using Thermotex’s Equine line. She first used Thermotex in conjunction with Aquatic Therapy for horses to facilitate rehabilitation. When Slade was three months old Ginger got a Thermotex hood, blanket and started doing treatments for horses. “We used the Thermotex blanket on the road for Cutting Horse competitions, we went from Calgary to Wyoming, even attending the Calgary Stampede.” At that time, Ginger had no idea the role that Thermotex would play in her own daughter’s life.
Slade’s Diagnosis changes their world.
Towards the end of 2016 Slade was visiting Ginger at work when she twisted her ankle. “We took her to the doctor, they did an x-ray and thought she broke her foot. But when we took the cast off her ankle was the size of a baseball.” At this point she was in so much pain she couldn’t walk. During this time Ginger remembers wrapping her daughter’s leg in the Thermotex Equine Neck System, knowing that it would help soothe her daughter’s pain.
This time, they x-rayed Slade from the knee down. Initially they thought she might have bone cancer because of a black spot on her leg. “Thank goodness it wasn’t Cancer, but our doctor did suggest that it could be JA.” Ginger took Slade to see a Pediatric Rheumatologist who diagnosed Slade with Rheumatoid Arthritis. The black spot on the x-ray was actually is a curvature in the bone from where the disease had attacked her bone. After working with horses that experienced flare-ups of arthritis Ginger thought, “Ok, we can treat this. But I had no knowledge of what the disease would mean for Slade.”
“We found out the arthritis had attacked her knees and ankle and started attacking her eyes causing Uveitis” (a cluster of inflammation in the eyes that can separate the retina and cause blindness). They began treating Slade with steroid drops in her eyes “Slade never complained. She was four at the time and she got eye drops every hour and saw a doctor every three days.” Slade also received MRI guided joint injections.
“One of the hardest things about an autoimmune disease for such a young child is that they can’t say ‘I can’t see well’. She has good days and she has bad days. There is no rhyme or reason to it. I have to determine what these days are, and know when she just needs rest, or when she has just had enough.”
Ginger also knows that stress and certain foods are triggers for Slade. “We now eat primarily ground deer meat and lean meat. We do things differently and have re-vamped our whole way of being. It may just be one small thing, but they all add up.”
Ginger and Slade find support from friends, and faith
When we asked Ginger what has helped with her healing she said emphatically, “My friends and my faith. I have the most amazing support group in my best friends, my church community and my family. Being a single parent, I have had my friends there every step of the way. Her friend also has a son Slade’s age, “My best friend has raised her son to be aware of Slade’s needs and he’s always checking on her. He doesn’t see something as wrong with her, he just takes care of her.”
Thermotex plays a big role in Slade’s life
Thermotex was gifting a Platinum pad on Facebook last spring. “I was already a believer in the products. I knew it would work because I saw it in animals who can’t communicate, show signs of instant relaxation.” Ginger told her story and ended up winning the personal pad!
“With the Thermotex Platinum I would notice immediate relief, Slade would go from not being able to sit still from pain, to falling asleep in moments. For Slade, it’s just immediate relaxation.” Ginger alternates ice with the Thermotex for swelling but Ginger says, “If she’s telling me her knee or leg hurts, we use Thermotex and 15 or 20 minutes later she’ll be soothed.”
Ginger’s support and advice for parents
Through all of this, Ginger sees that “I am blessed to be her mom. She is pretty special.” Ginger most wanted to emphasize Slade’s ability to overcome the limitations JA typically sets on children. “She actively still rides her horse, does Youth Rodeo class and loves to fish and ride her bike. I would love for parents to see that there is a way to maintain some normalcy in their child’s life – you don’t have to let the disease win.”
Ginger wants to raise awareness in schools, as she has seen how hard it is when organizations aren’t aware of JA “I feel blessed that Slade goes to a wonderful private school, but a lot of parents have problems with the schools that don’t understand the limitations of children with JA, that sometimes they get tired or can’t climb stairs or go to PE.”
A message Ginger is passionate about is “As a parent, don’t beat yourself up for not realizing. And you know your kids better than anyone; don’t let anyone tell you there is nothing wrong. You’re with your kid everyday. Try to trust your doctors, even though it’s a hard thing to do and most importantly trust God will give you answers and strength.”
For those suffering from localized pain, such as the pain associated with Rheumatoid arthritis, we recommend our most versatile product the Thermotex Platinum. – The Thermotex Platinum.