The two times U.S. Open winner explained to People: ‘I couldn’t raise my arm over my head, the racket felt like concrete. I had no feelings in my hands. They were swollen and itchy. I realised it would be a miserable show.’
After she sensationally dropped out of the U.S. Open in August, tennis star Venus Williams revealed she was suffering from an incurable immune system disease that threatened to end her career.
Less than four months later, as she learns more about Sjogren’s Disease and makes the adjustments in her life to better deal with it, the 31-year-old opens up about how it has affected her life.
Speaking to People magazine about her illness, she said: ‘I’ve been going hard the past few weeks and it scares me, I need to avoid stress or I’ll get sicker and go backwards.’
Before this week, many people had probably never heard of Sjogren’s syndrome, one of the most prevalent autoimmune disorders. But the recent announcement by tennis star Venus Williams that she was suffering from fatigue and other symptoms related to Sjogren’s has brought needed attention to a troubling condition.
“What made Kathleen Turner right for the part?” he said. “In a word, I needed a broad, and when you think of a broad, you think of Kathleen Turner.”
Ms. Turner is 56 now and has not attempted to roll back the numbers on her odometer or hide the wear on her tires. “I’m late middle aged, honey,” she said recently, neither bragging nor apologizing. She suffers from rheumatoid arthritis, for which she has had to take powerful medication for years, and went through a well publicized period of alcohol abuse. She has had so many operations on her knees and feet that she calls herself bionic.
“You don’t ever want to go to the airport with me,” she said. “I always set off the alarm, and then they have to pat me down.” She shook her head. “While they’re doing it, they say these sweet things like ‘Oh, I just love your work.’ ”
Over the past year, I have highlighted some well-know people who live/d with RA. If you have missed any part of this series, or just want to read some of them again, here is the entire collection. (One of my favorites discoveries to this day has been Edith Piaf, whose story I accidentally stumbled across while watching La Vie en Rose.) Enjoy!
Teaching sign language in her son Milo’s preschool class last year, Camryn Manheim felt a sharp pain in her left hand as she tried to form a word to a favorite tune. “We were singing ‘Old Mac-Donald had a farm/ E-I-E-I—ouch!’ ” she recalls. Manheim, who played attorney Ellenor Frutt in The Practice from 1997 to 2004, went to several doctors to find out what was causing the stiffness and pain in her hands. After eight months of searching, she got a surprising answer: At 44, Manheim had rheumatoid arthritis, a disease that affects about 2 million people—70 percent of them women. Finding relief through twice-weekly injections, Manheim, who lives with 4-year-old Milo in Venice, Calif., is once again swimming and Rollerblading—and hoping to help others receive a faster diagnosis than she did.
About a year and a half ago, I just wasn’t feeling myself. I was feeling aches and pains in my hands, which was upsetting to me because I’m a sign-language interpreter—I use my hands all the time. I could hold a pen or a cup of coffee, but it was difficult. I was starting to feel fatigued too. I had to have somebody run alongside Milo when he was learning to ride his bicycle without training wheels. I had somebody else in the pool with him. I had somebody else doing hula hoop with him. That’s not the kind of mother I wanted to be. I don’t know that he could tell I couldn’t be there for him as much as I would have liked—certainly not in a way that he could express. But it was clear to me and that made me sad. […]
Her doctor then prescribed steroids.
Immediately I felt some relief because they are an anti-inflammatory. But as soon as I would go off them the swelling and the pain would return. […]
Finally, in May, she got a referral to a rheumatologist.
So I get there and he’s like, “Put the gown on.” And I said, “Why do I have to wear a gown? It’s my hands that hurt.” And I’m thinking to myself I didn’t even wear nice underwear that day. He did blood and bone density tests and took X-rays. When he told me it was rheumatoid arthritis I said that’s the craziest thing I’ve ever heard. I’m too young. Well, I learned I was mistaken.