“I started playing hockey when I was really young. I’m from a very small town in Saskatchewan, and that’s what everybody did. Everybody went to the rink after school, everybody played shinny. And I was one of the only girls in my town that played …
When I was initially diagnosed, my first thought was for my friends on my team. I didn’t want to let them down even though I knew if I chose to walk away, they would support me. But I couldn’t imagine going to school and not going to hockey practice, seeing the girls every day, playing my games on the weekend.
The disease is called rheumatoid arthritis and I was officially diagnosed in September 2015. My mom has it, and she got when she was 16.
I first got symptoms in my feet and it kind of left my foot and went into my left wrist. It destroyed all the cartilage in my wrist, so I have bone rubbing on bone in some spots. At one point, because of the pain, I couldn’t even tie my skates. I’ve been tying my skates since I was six years-old, so relying on someone else for something that seems so simple and so routine was very hard for me.
Even when I couldn’t play hockey it was still good to come to the rink — it was almost an escape from my pain.
It’s one of those things that you don’t know how strong you are until you have to push through it. I have challenges every day that not many people understand. But I proved to myself that I can still play hockey. I can’t do things that I used to do before — or do them as well — but that’s my norm now, and I’ve accepted that.
I don’t want rheumatoid arthritis to define my life. I am only 23, so I am young and I still want to do everything on my bucket list”
Kali Jamieson, SAIT Trojan | SAIT alumna, Rehabilitation Therapy Assistant | SAIT student, Business Administration Diploma
Editor’s note: Kali is now in her fifth year as a SAIT Trojan on the women’s hockey team. After missing half of the season in her third and fourth years due to surgery and the painful effects of rheumatoid arthritis, she returned to the ice this season to finish her final year.