Victor Yip, now 18, from Bromley, was diagnosed with juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) at the age of 11. He’d been ill for a year before that. Both his hips and knees, right ankle, shoulder and elbow were seriously affected.
Victor is a stoical young man but admits that when his arthritis was at its height he was in a really bad way.
“The pain was bad enough but the fatigue was even worse; I could hardly do anything,” he recalls. “I’d just about manage to go to school, but I’d just come home and collapse.
“It had a big effect on me and my social life.”
After spending three weeks in hospital while doctors struggled to get his condition under control, Victor has now been on etanercept since 2013. Victor says it’s brilliant at controlling his condition, and he now has few symptoms.
Victor is a patient at the adolescent clinic at UCL. In a few months he’ll transition to the young adult clinic, a process he says is going smoothly.
Going to university
Victor is taking his A-levels and is planning to go to university. He’s also hoping to come off methotrexate, partly because of the unpleasant side-effects but also because it stops him drinking alcohol.
“I go out and friends are drinking and I’m sipping water! But I know it’s the lesser of two evils; I’d rather be well.”
Victor is taking part in our centre for adolescent rheumatology’s psychological stress study, as well as helping to develop an app for JIA patients.
“It’s good to know that I’m helping others with my condition by being involved in research. I’m looking to do more and to find other ways of helping fellow sufferers through the process,” he says.
“I’ve had great support from my family and friends, who are willing to listen. My school has also really helped me.”
For more information about the centre go to www.centre-for-adolescent-rheumatology.org