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Martha & J.I.A.

This is a small series taken from my personal experiences of watching my youngest daughter face the realisation that her body isn't perfect.

Gypsy, her deaf sister has from day one of her 12 week premature life taken living with visits to the doctors, specialists and hospitals in her stride. Martha on the other hand has always thought she was untouchable with no broken bones, no disabilities and has nearly always been that little bit taller.

So when, after a few aches and pains that wouldn't go away needed investigation and ultimately a diagnosis, her 10 years on this earth were turned upside down.

J.I.A. or Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis is an auto immune condition that causes inflammation of her joints. Treatment has involved unpleasant medication which like any parent of a sick child has been hard to see her go through week after week. It continues to this day and will for the foreseeable too but there is a significance to me posting this series today. we have just returned from the hospital after she went under general anaesthetic to get to her affected joints injected with steroid treatment, something we have been waiting for since her diagnosis. Don't get me wrong, we have already seen a huge difference in her wellbeing and particularly her general happiness from the medication, if we don't include the physical difficulties in taking it, but this procedure we hope will take a huge step to helping her start to see the benefits of all this in her everyday life of fun and activity with us and her friends.

So, back to this little series of work. We spent a few days away as a family on the outskirts of the Cairngorms National Park in the North of Scotland before her trip to the hospital. We spent the majority of time exploring the beautiful woodlands that surrounded our little lodge, with the kids playing in pre built tree houses and old ruined farm outbuildings. I had my camera with me as usual and started to notice the fallen debris and stark form of the stripped bare winter woodlands that Martha was playing in. With this day looming, I started to see a link between the dormant lifelines of nature and that of what sat dormant in Martha's bones and joints, waiting to be reawakened by the procedure in the Queen Elizabeth Hospital for Sick Children on our return. These are a representation of the thoughts that my mind was flooded with as I prayed for a successful and painless day for my baby girl.

May I also add a huge thanks to OUR NHS. Everything my girls have went through in their short lives have been carried out with great empathy and expertise which as it stands and should always be available to everyone regardless of their wealth or standing in society.

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