Camas woman, who has lived with disorder since a tot, shows early, consistent care crucial
By Marissa Harshman, Columbian health reporter
Published: April 14, 2014, 6:00 AM
Twenty-year-old Kelly Slauson doesn’t know life without rheumatoid arthritis.
Diagnosed when she was just 18 months old, Slauson’s life as she knows it has always included medications, doctor’s appointments and joint stiffness.
“I thought every kid had to get shots on Friday nights and go to the doctor all the time,” said Slauson, who lives in Camas.
When Slauson was only about 7 or 8 months old, she started walking. But her parents later realized something wasn’t right.
Slauson would walk, but then, after napping, would wake up and revert to crawling. Or, if she did walk, it would be with a limp. Her pediatrician referred her to a rheumatologist at Seattle Children’s Hospital, where she was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disorder in which the immune system mistakenly attacks the body’s own tissue.