November 25: Jarrod Cain

Story Told by Melody Rising

Jarrod’s story begins well over a year ago and is more of a personal story than a deer story that you are typically so used to reading on these journals. Jarrod is your typical teenage outdoorsy boy. He loves to deer, squirrel & turkey hunt. Last spring he also became extremely interested in coon hunting and we purchased him his own dog. By late July of 2011 Jarrod had spent countless nights in the woods learning the ropes of coon hunting. It was also at this time that his right ankle swelled up and walking became painful. We had all assumed, including his family dr, at the time that he had sprained his ankle while working with his dog in the woods. Eventually the swelling went away after rest and crutches but a few weeks later his left knee swelled up and a week after this, his right ankle was swelled back up. By now it was becoming quite apparent that we were not dealing with simple sprains anymore.

I will sum up the next couple of months the simplest that I can. Jarrod went from a swollen ankle to massive swelling & severe pain in both ankles, both knees, both wrists, both elbows and pain in his hips and lower back in less than 4 months. He was missing tons of school and in unbearable pain. By Christmas he could no longer pull his compound bow back. His sedrate levels (blood test that shows levels of inflammation in your body) were sky rocketing to 98 (20 being high for an adult). The only thing keeping the pain tolerable was steroids. His family Dr had originally assumed since his blood work was also showing extremely high levels of Strep in his system, that the strep was causing a reactive arthritis. We tried treating the strep with high doses of antibiotics, but it kept coming back.

FINALLY we were referred to a Rheumotologist, but could not get in until Feb. Being a parent and watching your child go from “a healthy normal child” one day to barely walking and in severe daily pain in less than 4 months is without a doubt one of the most heartbreaking and most helpless feelings Ben and I have ever had. There was no way that we were going to make Jarrod wait another 2 months to see a specialist. By the grace of God and through a friend that I will forever feel indebted to, we were able to get him in to see the most wonderful doctor that I have ever had the pleasure to meet and that was Dr. Zeft through the Cleveland Clinic within 2 weeks. My friend Teresa works there and worked him into the schedule.

We knew right away that we were in the right place. After a ton of examinations, xrays & blood work we were finally diagnosed with Juvenille Idiopathic Arthritis. For those of you reading this, yes, we did test for Lyme’s disease but it was ruled out. Looking back now, the signs were there of arthritis but so minor that they were dismissed as little things like growing pains or ran too much that day at bball practice etc.

We are coming up on 1 yr since this diagnosis. It hasn’t been an easy yr, but Jarrod is greatly improving with meds. I give him 2 shots a week, one of Methotrexate and one of Enbrel. He also has Naproxene for when the pain is still too much. We are now in the process of decreasing his meds to see where his levels are at. The less meds the better!!!

Regardless of all of this, he tries his hardest to keep his head up and continue trekking on. He tried playing baseball this past spring but his feet started swelling and here he ended up with fractured bones in his feet which they are assuming is from the meds. The meds that he is on causes his bones to be weaker. He still went to a few of the games with an air cast on and supported his team from the sidelines. He was able to still go on his Washington DC class field trip, but in a wheelchair and Ben was able to take him turkey hunting even though he had to struggle through the woods but resulted in a nice Tom. Like I said, he keeps his head up as you can see from the smile on his face. Oh, and he has also started getting back into coon hunting!

Jarrod’s main goal this fall was to harvest a buck on film with his compound bow. He even took to plowing and seeding his own food plot in our field this summer. He went out several times but never had any luck. The weekend before Ohio’s gun season opener he told Ben that he still wanted to go out but with his bow and not a gun. So while his brother sighted in his gun, Jarrod practiced his archery and was all prepared to for this day. Unfortunately for him, we had a huge weather change move in. Extreme weather changes still affects his joints and he almost didn’t go due to the pain he was in but he finally decided to go but opted out of taking his bow with him in the morning and decided to use the gun after all.

Luck was on his side this time. He wasn’t in the stand long at all when this 8 point came strolling through. He was on a mission and wasn’t going to stop, but Ben got him to stop just long enough to give Jarrod that open shot and a perfect shot is what he made. Not sure who was happiest; Jarrod, Ben or myself. We are so proud of this boy who is so quickly turning into a fine young man with great work ethics, strong willed Christian values and holds his head up well through all of his obstacles.

His goal now…. To see just how much jerky he can make out of that one buck J