Teen learns to manage chronic pain

Geraldton Guardian
Kailey Farrell with her father Trevor after her 16th birthday celebrations.
Camera IconKailey Farrell with her father Trevor after her 16th birthday celebrations.

Geraldton teen Kailey Farrell has been suffering pains most of her childhood, but thought it couldn’t be anything other than sports-related aches.

It was two years ago when she discovered her immune system was striking her body’s tissues, causing prolonged pain, burning and swelling.

She was diagnosed in March 2015 with the incurable disease Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis, which means she has to live with a constant ache in her joints, back and knees.

The 16-year-old says it’s been difficult for the people around her to accept her pain.

“The pain is real, even if you can’t actually see it,” she said.

Chronic Pain Australia reports that people in regional areas living with pain are especially disadvantaged when it comes to accessing pain relief services because most clinics and specialists are based in major cities.

Regularly attending class has been difficult for Kailey, a Nagle Catholic College student, because she constantly has to return to Perth almost every month to get proper care.

“I’ve probably missed more than half of school this year,” she said.

“It would be great to have a home school alternative, and that’s being looked into.”

Despite her absences, Kailey describes a love for human biology and finds the study of bodies to be extremely interesting.

“I’m looking at going to either Murdoch University or Notre Dame,” she says.

“I’d really like to get into the medical industry.”

A self-confessed explorer, Kailey enjoys trying new things, riding motorbikes and soccer.

“The pain can be very limiting, but soccer is my favourite sport and I would love to take it up again.”

Kailey wants to spread the message to be mindful of everyone else’s pain and to not take anything for granted.

Chronic Pain Australia reports between 25 and 35 per cent of children are affected by chronic pain.

National Pain Week was held last month, with the theme is “Be bold: let’s manage pain together”.

Its focus was on bringing sufferers and health care professionals together to find ways to improve quality of life.

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