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My Dad Has Rheumatoid Athritis

Hi my name is kerri and im from new zealand and i spose it could be said that i have been a young carer for as long as its kinda posible. my dad has rheumatoid athritis which means he is severely limited in his mobility which during my childhood caused dad and i to have a bad relationship, we only began working alongside each other when i came home from school one day when i was 14 and found mum who had polycystic kidney disease lying on the ground, i later found out that she had had a severe stroke which caused her to lose all movement in her left hand side of her body, her memory and speech were slightly effected. My mum was put in old peoples home because of her need for 24 hour care so i spose i was quite lucky to only have to care for dad at home and not her but it was still really hard as it was like having a mum without having a mum. my mum died from complications of the stroke 15 months later which was really hard but it was a relief for me as those 15 months were some of the hardest for me as i really struggled with ballancing visiting my mum and doing some small jobs for her, caring for my dad and doing jobs like grocery shoping cooking, washing and many other things and balancing my school work however during that time i had great support from my youth group. also during this time at age 15 i lived at home on my own for 2 months when dad was in hospital in an attempt to heal large ulcers on his lower legs that were causing dads health to further deteriorate fast. Mums bad health and the extra stress on the family further effected dads health and he had to quit his work for the sake of his health which put further stress on our family. 3 years on i am now in my 2nd year of nursing course which was influenced by my life experience. Dads health has recently been very bad and he needed neck surgery which was scary because the thought of him being a parapalegic was very real and scary, as balancing the desire to become independent and do what i want like all my peers and having to look after dad is really hard. Um thats enough about me but im currenlty looking into starting up a young carers group in my area in newzealand, because i had never heard about young carers till i was doing research for an essay recently. For any one reading this who is currently looking at moving away from home to go to college and is concerened about leaving those you care for i suggest you talk to them and the rest of your family about it and make the decision that is best for you, i chose to stay in town but hope to be able to leave in a few years. Being that my mum had polycystic kidney disease at age 18 when i was having problems with my kidneys i chose to get tested for this so for young carers whose parents have a heredity disease that you can be tested for, know that there is people out there who feel the same fear about finding out the same concerns about what if you get tested and its positive but theres nothing you can do about it, for conditions that dont have any cure there is no right answer as to whether or nto to be tested when your young unless it will help but u have to make the right decision for you

Kerri, 19 years