Lucille Ball & RA

lucyLucille Désirée Ball (August 6, 1911 – April 26, 1989) was an American comedienne, film, television, stage and radio actress, model, film and television executive, and star of the sitcoms I Love Lucy, The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour, The Lucy Show and Here’s Lucy. One of the most popular and influential stars in America during her lifetime, with one of Hollywood’s longest careers, especially on television, Ball was a movie star from the 1930s who could still be seen making films in the 1960s and 1970s; she was a radio regular in the 1940s.

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One of the less-commonly know facts about Lucille Ball is that she lived with rheumatoid arthritis when she was young.

As a teenager, Ball left her Jamestown, New York home to pursue a career in show business, adopting the stage name Diane Belmont. After being fired from several chorus jobs, she retreated to her hometown. Returning to NYC in the early 1930s, Ball was hired as a Hattie Carnegie model but that career was cut short by a bout with what was diagnosed as rheumatoid arthritis. Following two years of intense pain and experimental treatments, she had recovered sufficiently and embarked on a Hollywood career, which at first consisted mostly of walk-ons and bit roles before she was turned into a glamorous Goldwyn showgirl in Eddie Cantor musicals like “Roman Scandals” (1933).

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Services For People With Rheumatoid Arthritis

To accompany the Services for people with rheumatoid arthritis report, the NAO has produced a DVD with patient stories covering the themes in the report. The videos from this DVD are available below.

Introduction (2:09)
Presentation to GP and Referral
Impact on Life
Awareness and Reaction of Family and Friends
Self Management
Working with Rheumatoid Arthritis
Support and Information

The full report, together with a transcript of this video, is available at

Thanks to the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society (NRAS) for sharing this information on their Facebook page. Some of the individuals who appear in this video are NRAS volunteers!

Stomach Remedies

Last week Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy ran out of Prilosec. Instead of immediately going to the store to get more –as I should have done – I decided that I would ride it out through the weekend and get my medicines once I was back in a commercial part of town during the week.

How much harm could possibly come from skipping a few days of my stomach protection medication, I thought? Well, I learned that the answer was more harm was done than I could have imagined. (The fact that I also started taking my anti-inflammatory medication twice a day, up from the previous once a day, didn’t help either.)

If Superman is the superhero with abs of steel, Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy is the superhero with a stomach that seems to be made of tissue paper.

After being woken up in the middle of the night with heartburn, and experiencing an upset stomach during the day, I decided that I needed to complement my Prilosec with two additional home remedies that have proven helpful when I my stomach has gone out of whack in the past due to the NSAIDS and other rheumatoid arthritis pills that I take on a daily basis.


Maizena Corn Starch Power Drink

1 tablespoon corn starch dissolved in cold water
1 cup water or apple juice

Directions: Warm up the water or apple juice in a small saucepan. Add the corn starch that has been dissolved in water. Stir constantly until hot. Serve immediately and drink with a spoon.

This is a wonderful method of soothing an upset stomach, which I often use when I wake up in the morning. If I use water instead of apple juice, I will throw in a cinnamon stick while the water boils and finish with a spoonful of honey in order to add a little flavor and sweetness.


Flax Seed

2 tablespoons whole flax seed
1 cup water

Directions: Boil water and flax seed in a small saucepan for about 5 minutes, until the liquid becomes thick and cloudy. Pass the liquid through a strainer to remove the flax seeds (it will have a phlegm-like consistency.) Drink warm.

I often use this method during the evenings, before I go to sleep. Sometimes I will add a bag of anise or chamomile tea to the water while it is boiling in order to add a little flavor.

When I drink the above two items on a daily basis in addition to Prilosec, my stomach often seems to get much better in almost no time! Do you have any other home remedies for stomach protection that you can share?


Looking for an alcohol-free drink that not only tastes good but that is healthy for you as well? Try the Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy Mocktail!


Stay tuned…for the next adventure of Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy!

If I Were A Car

Cars MaterRheumatoid Arthritis Guy loves listening to the “Car Talk” podcast every weekend. I must admit that in general I am not too into cars (I don’t own one myself). I have never been into “The Fast and the Furious”, and I probably never will be. (Pixar’s “Cars” is much more my thing.)  But still, there is something about listening to Tom and Ray try to diagnose car problems during call after call that makes me more interested in cars than I would normally be otherwise.

As I rode to physical therapy yesterday afternoon, with my crutches in tow (yes, my crutches came back out yesterday…earlier in the day I started to lose the use of my left ankle), in the back seat of a taxi being driven by a man who thought he was a racecar driver, I started to think of all the car commercials I have seen which highlight the fact that Car X can go from 0 to 60 in two and a half seconds (or something like that).

And then it hit me.

I was sort of like one of these cars…except in my case, I can go from 60 to 0 in what seems like only two and a half seconds.

So in true Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy style, I decided that I needed to have some fun with my rheumatoid arthritis. (If you are a new reader, this usually means that I am going through a rough patch.)

If I were a car…I would spend hours each day in the shop. All of the mechanics would know me on a first-name basis, and would have my service record memorized in their heads.

If I were a car…my windshield spray nozzle would turn on at the weirdest times.

If I were a car…I would be able to pump in endless amounts of gasoline into my fuel tank, and my fuel gauge would still be on empty. (Don’t even get me started on my miles-per-gallon rating!)

If I were a car…I would need a remote control starter on cold and rainy mornings.

If I were a car…my wheels would continually go flat. (Sometimes, they would all go flat at the exact same time.)

If I were a car…sometimes my windshield would get fogged up, making it difficult to look down the road.

If I were a car…my shock absorbers would be shot and my door hinges would squeak. My hub caps would be twisted out of shape.

If I were a car…my tow truck driver would be on speed dial.

If I were a car…the anti-theft protection system would for some unknown reason turn against me. I’d often have episodes where it seems like the blaring alarm will never stop.

If I were a car…I’d pull in for a break at every rest stop.

If I were a car…I’d continually hear “but you have too few miles to be breaking down so frequently!”

If I were a car…I’d enjoy life in the slow lane.

In the past I often used to wish for a trade-in…but not any more. I’ve gotten used to this car, and I sort of like it!

(By the way, when I saw Pixar’s “Cars” my favorite character was rusty old tow truck Mater. I found his character to be much more interesting than sleek and shiny and Lightening McQueen. Go figure.)

Stay tuned…for the next adventure of Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy!


Update: I just saw this morning’s headline, so I have to add one one more item to my list.

If I were a car…Congress would be rushing to pass legistation that helps me. (Cash for Clunkers)

If I were a person…Congress would be delaying all attempts to pass legislation that helps me. (Health Care Reform)

FDA: Arthritis Drugs Pose Cancer Risk To Children

WASHINGTON — Federal regulators on Tuesday added stronger warnings to a group of best-selling drugs used to treat arthritis and other inflammatory diseases, saying they can increase the risk of cancer in children and adolescents.

After more than a year of review, Food and Drug Administration scientists said the drugs appear to increase the risk of cancer after they are used beyond 2 1/2 years. The agency studied several dozen reports of cancer in children taking the drugs, some of which were fatal. Half of the cases were lymphomas, a cancer that attacks the immune system.

Read More: The New York Times Article

The drugs which will carry a bolstered “black box” warning include: Humira, Remicade, Simponi, Enbrel, and Cimizia.

A few weeks back I wrote about the biologics exclusivity legislation that is currently moving through the U.S. Congress: The Battle Over Biologics.

Articles like the one shown above are yet one more reason to support Rep. Henry Waxman’s H.R. 1427: Promoting Innovation and Access to Life Saving Medicine Act. This legislation specifically calls for additional testing anytime a biologic response modifier drug is introduced for pediatric use.

The other version of this bill by Rep. Anna Eshoo, which benefits the biotech industry more than the consumer, continues to move forward. Just last week the House Energy and Commerce Committe voted 47-11 to grant the biotech industry the 12 year exclusivity period which they are seeking. Plus, Eshoo’s legislation actually allows for the following types of testing to be waived: analytical studies, animal studies, and clinical studies.