Until a few days ago, when I idly clicked on a link titled ‘10 Celebrities With Rheumatoid Arthritis‘, I had not realised that Kathleen Turner has RA. As I sit here typing with three fingers and my right thumb (the only digits still just about functioning), I feel ashamed that it hadn’t occurred to me that her slide into oblivion post-Romancing the Stone and Jewel of the Nile had been down to anything other than the typical, clichèd Hollywood topple off the pedestal, Kirsty Alley-style.
But RA doesn’t care who you are. At least my 20kg weight gain and general falling apart (hey, my eyebrows almost meet in the middle these days; can’t manage tweezers) has taken place in relative obscurity, witnessed only by a few. But for Kathleen Turner, to go from how she looked in Body Heat to how she looked in the 90s, when people ~ myself included ~ tut-tutted judgementally and snidely commented on how she had ‘let herself go’ to the point where she looked like she was (in the words of my boss Ken McKenzie) “one meat pie short of an explosion”… It makes me feel ashamed of myself.
So, I’d like to apologise to her for my incredible shallowness and lack of compassion; back in the 90s, I guess I was still young enough and arrogant enough to believe that middle-age, gravity and a slowing metabolism would never, could never, happen to me, never mind any form of long-term illness or disability.
And I’d also like to tip my hat (sidebar: my hair seems to be falling out less these days, woohoo) to her for pushing through and making a comeback, for not letting the bastards get her down.
I saw the rheumy today: because of my hand and feet, meds have been increased, review in two months, if no improvement then I proceed to the next level of treatment (injectables). Steroids stay because, although it is highly unusual for anyone to have been on daily ‘roids for 18 months as I have, doc doesn’t want to cut back any further at this point.
She also asked me how I felt my health and general wellbeing had been over the last week, on a scale of 1-100. I scored myself at 70 (as there hasn’t been a day when something wasn’t hurting; plus fatigue has been overwhelming) ~ but you know what? I am actually really proud of myself. I’ve got out of bed every day, continued working and tackling household chores, and apart from a couple of times when I’ve had to ask for help with things like turning a key in the lock or doing the school run when my hand hurt too much to grip the steering wheel, I’ve carried on.
And I thought, wow, imagine what I could do if I was running at 100% — I’d take over the f*cking world I would :)