Feature

Turner’s battle with pain

Kathleen Turner suffers from rheumatoid arthritis, a crippling autoimmune disease that makes every move agony. “It is so hard to explain that kind of chronic, endless pain that you can’t do anything to relieve," she sai

Kathleen Turner has been in a bad way, says Nigel Farndale in the London Telegraph. The sultry actress suffers from rheumatoid arthritis, a crippling autoimmune syndrome that makes every move agony. “RA is a very bad disease,” she says. “Very difficult. You have a permanent low-level fluey feeling, a constant temperature and nausea. You think, Get the f--- outta my body!” The diagnosis, which came in 1991, when she was 37, was a complete shock. “The day I was told, I went from the hospital to kindergarten for a meeting with my daughter’s teacher and looked at these little chairs and started crying because I knew there was no way I would be able to get into that chair.” For years, Turner tried to deaden the pain with vodka; she succeeded only in becoming an alcoholic. “It is so hard to explain that kind of chronic, endless pain that you can’t do anything to relieve—can’t sit, stand, lie, anything. It hurts from the inside out. You will take any escape.” At one point, her daughter, Rachel, had to feed her because she couldn’t hold a spoon. But today, after many joint operations and intensive steroid therapy, Turner is doing better. “Rachel and I were going somewhere and I ran with her across a road and she said, ‘Mom, you ran!’ I never expected to again, having been told I would spend the rest of my life in a wheelchair.”

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