Hey everyone! My name is Natalie and I'm 25. Big lover of all things pink, fluffy and cute. Quirky, bit mad....but loveable! My life tends to be dictated by my illness, but I have learned how to cope, keep smiling & make the best of everything......here is my 'brief' story.

I was diagnosed with Juvenile Chronic Arthritis at age 5, nowadays theyre calling it Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis. It has stayed with me despite doctors hoping it would 'burn out'.

Over the years I have yo-yoed health wise, from having good times, bad times, and inbetween times, with a right mixture of meds and treatments along the way!
I went to a school for disabled children, and spent 4 years there where I had amazing support from all the staff and healthcare professionals, such as Physio's and  Occupational Therapists. This is where my interest in the medical field began and I grew up knowing that was where I belonged.

I started university in 2004 and spent 3 years training as an Occupational Therapist, something which at one stage, I wasnt sure I would make to the end. My first year of Uni was amazing - lots of fun, great lectures, lots of independance, made new friends. About 4 months into my second year, around December 2004, everything went downhill, and I found out I needed a Hip Replacement.

Stubborn as I am, and not wanting to put my studies in jeapordy, I vowed to have the procedure during the summer holidays. I assured the consultant I could wait until then.

By March, I was packing up my room at Uni, having my procedure planned for May, and having arranged with the University what coursework I would submit during the remainder of the term.

I decided to keep a diary from then on....and this blog will share my experiences with you, both leading up to the operation and in the months thereafter. I was so afraid of the operation, and could not find any literature or much advice on joint replacement with youner patients. I hope this blog will inform you all and put your mind at rest, because, since then......I have never looked back!