Last September the three of us went to Washington, D.C., courtesy of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR), and spoke to several Texas lawmakers and/or their legislative assistants about pending arthritis legislation and funding for existing programs. It was our second such trip. When we got home I swore we would never do that again. Even though it was fun and productive, I was exhausted and broke, and the kids had massive amounts of make-up work for school.
Any time we make a trip for an arthritis-related event, we tack on a few days for a family vacation. Of course, in Washington, D.C., there are enough things to do and see that you could spend a month and not get bored. Well, the trip this past September was the first one we took that I had to pull the kids out of school for a few days. I was thankful the principal excused the absences on educational grounds.
Until a couple weeks ago, I was convinced we would not make another out of state trip during school time. That is, until I got the email from the ACR that they were accepting applications for the next advocacy gathering. Now, with the possibility that Bella also has juvenile arthritis, I feel compelled to return and make sure our lawmakers know that 300,000 children in the U.S. are affected by this illness.
I’m really torn. If Bella doesn’t have JA, I think the decision becomes pretty easy. If she does, I feel I somehow owe it to her to go, since she has been so supportive of Marty’s struggles.
What would you do?