Kathleen Turner and Living with Rheumatoid Arthritis

January 22, 2008 by  
Filed under ARTHRITIS

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Remember the foxy temptress, the oldest sex symbol in the world: Kathleen Turner?

She came to fame during the 1980s, after roles in the Hollywood films Body Heat, Romancing the Stone and Prizzi’s Honor.

Kathleen Turner is not just a foxy, sex symbol but she is an Academy Award-nominated American actress too.

She has battled with rheumatoid arthritis as well.

In her article at the UK Daily Mail, Ms. Turner wrote about her battle against rheumatoid arthritis and how she came to fell sexy again:

Was it false pride, or stubbornness, or an inability to be vulnerable? Yes, all of that. I was trying so hard to work at all, and I was terrified that I’d never work again if anyone knew that I had a mysterious, scary illness.

Sometimes, my feet blew up so badly that I couldn’t walk on them. The skin became so tightly stretched because of the fluid in my feet that it started to crack.

When that happened, my toes looked like little sausages and my feet didn’t look much like feet any more; they were just these huge things at the end of my legs. Sometimes, they burst, exposing bone and muscle.

Meanwhile, the joints in my hands were so swollen, I couldn’t hold a pen. Some days, I couldn’t even hold a glass.

Ironically, for years, the Press assumed that my puffiness was the result of an alcohol problem – yet, back then, it wasn’t. I didn’t publicly refute this. At least directors might still hire me if they thought I was a drunk.

For normal people, bad appearances as a result of a condition you are suffering from (like rheumatoid arthritis) is hard enough to handle.


What if you are a celebrity that has to shy away from the merciless press people? It must be a lot harder.

Then, one day, I tried to pick something up and realised I couldn’t straighten my left arm.

There was a curious bump in it, as though my elbow had moved over to the inside of my limb.

Soon, I could no longer turn my head. By now – 1993 – I was almost a year into the symptoms. I’d gone to the top doctor of every f***ing department of medicine in one of the biggest cities in the goddamn world and they couldn’t help me.

“All right, I’m dying,” I thought. “I have some terrible disease – I don’t think it’s cancer, but I’m clearly dying.”

It was at this point that my GP did some more blood tests. The results were grim: I wasn’t dying, but I had severe rheumatoid arthritis, a chronic, incurable and crippling disease that destroys the lining of the joints. I was told it could leave me in a wheelchair.

That same day, I went to a parent-teacher conference at my daughter Rachel’s kindergarten. There were all of three stairs up to the door, yet I struggled to pull myself up, step by step. Inside, there were cute little chairs about 12 inches off the floor.

Well, I looked at those f***ing chairs and burst into tears because I knew that even if I got into one, I’d never be able to get up again. A kind teacher offered me her own chair, saying: “Oh, poor thing”.

We should not despair. You are certainly not alone battling life with arthritis.

Read the rest of Kathleen Turner’s story here.

[In Photo: Kathleen Turner here with daughter Rachel. The steroids she was on for rheumatoid arthritis made her pile on the pounds.]

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4 Responses to “Kathleen Turner and Living with Rheumatoid Arthritis”
  1. attraction says:

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  2. Brad Reese says:

    Hi Gloria,

    I’m 55 and know exactly what Miss Turner has been going through.

    However, my symptons of rheumatoid arthritis are caused by cancer.

    Prednisone immediately relieved by rheumatoid arthritis symptons. I went from being a total invalid to “superman” overnight with my first dose of Prednisone, it was amazing. Since I love to walk everywhere in Manhattan, it was terrific.

    Nevertheless, I’ve gained 50 lbs. while on Prednisone. Luckily for me, my chemo treatments are working and I’m being weaned off Prednisone.

    What’s so alarming is that I went to bed one night feeling great and woke up 7 hours later unable to get out of bed. I mean, if I simply tried to stand the pain was unbearable!

    Rheumatoid arthritis is absolutely devastating and its horrible beyond imagination.


    Brad Reese

  3. I have had Rheumatoid Arthritis for over 24 years. I I authored a book titled A Complete Illustrated guide to Cooking with arthritis . It teaches people with chronic pain how to prepare foods incorporating others parts of the body , feel free to check it out or
    visit my web site at:
    Book web site : www.tatepublishing.com/bookstore/book.php?w=978-1-60799-738-2

  4. Great article, thanks for sharing it.

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