Kathleen Turner’s Painful Battle against Rheumatoid Arthritis
From being one of the most desirable women in show business to fighting an internal battle just to hold a pen, Kathleen Turner's later life has been one of hardship.
Having made a name for herself with massive hits like Body Heat and Romancing the Stone, the actress had barely summited her prime when her health took a major hit.
She was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis at the age of 39.
Albeit, by then, she had been suffering the agonizing pain for over a year before she even knew the name of the ailment.
By statistical metrics, she was lucky. Most Rheumatoid Arthritis cases are diagnosed in 3 to 5 years, as claims from Daily News suggested.
Kathleen Turner with her husband Jay Weiss (Source: Instagram)
How the Rheumatoid Arthritis Began
The pain began from her feet. At the time, she wrote the pain off as exhaustion from some party or perhaps an accidentally sprained foot.
A few days passed, and the pain came back, but this time to her left hand and quickly radiated up to the elbow, then her neck, and then the other hand.
The crippling pain left her unable even to hold up a pen.
"It felt like a broken wrist that hasn't been set," she said on a later date. Huffington Post reported that she began seeing doctors in 1993.
Kathleen Turner's Battle with Rheumatoid Arthritis
The diagnosis was a difficult one, yes, but at the time, the treatment was no picnic either.
"The original [drug] cocktail I was on was almost as dangerous as the disease," the actress confessed. "I had to keep having tests for my eyes, liver, kidneys, and stomach."
Turns out, the anti-inflammatory prednisone prescribed for Rheumatoid Arthritis took a toll on the patient's bones and muscles.
"Not only that, it is a severe depressant!" Turner fumed.
Here you are in constant pain, afraid about what is happening to you, and you are being medically depressed as well? Thank you very much!
By mid-1994, Turner was bedridden. She could not get up on her own.
The left hand no longer moved, and every turn of the head sent pain shooting through the neck. For the first time in her life, defeated Turner fell into despair.
Her doctors had told her she would lose the ability to move altogether. She gave up hope and locked herself in a family house.
Thankfully, her husband Jay Weiss found a miracle worker — a doctor who could put the actress back on her feet.
The doctor canceled the previous treatment and began pulse therapy with only one basic drug. It worked.
The Hard Fought Road to Recovery
While there was only so much that the drug could do on its own, the one remarkable thing it did was reinvigorated Turner with the will to fight this disease.
She began doing gymnastics every day. Little by little, she devoted herself to the process. A month later, she began swimming in the pool and walking on her own.
These days, Turner promotes the Arthritis Foundation and is a spokesperson for Planned Parenthood and Child Hope USA.
She is a firm believer that the cure for rheumatoid arthritis will be found in her lifetime, but for now, she had this to say:
Remember: The earliest you can test for arthritis -- do it. It's just a simple blood test.