Oh Bummer!

I let this old post get buried…It was written probably about eight months ago.  So here it is to all those who might be interested in reading it:

For many of you who are not aware, a few weeks ago, people who lived in the L.A. and N.Y. area were contacted through Daily Strength to audition for a Rheumatoid Arthritis commercial.  Luckily, the very day that it was posted, I contacted Sessions West Studios and scheduled for an audition.  But here’s the thing….I’m terrible at public speaking.  My knees get week, I start to sweat and shake, and you would think I was about ready to go into convulsions.  The director at the studio was very sweet and did his best to get a good take of my audition.  I was hoping I would just be going in to talk about my experience with RA.  No such luck however.  They required actual acting!

Thinking that I had completely blown my chances, I got back to work with a sad look on my face.  I really wanted the gig, and the pay wasn’t too shabby!  My finances were particularly poor at the moment.   My husband was out of work, I was working part time and barely surviving, wondering how my husband and I would get through the next few months.  That $4000 could keep us going!  So the pressure was definitely there.  It’s like someone handed me a check and said you can have this if you can just do this one thing right.  And in this case, it’s acting!

That day I got a phone call from the casting studio.  “You have a call back” they said!  I was thrilled, to say the least!  My nerves were at an all time high as I waited for the next call to let me know what time.  Days passed.  When I never received the call, I started to grow worried.  The call back was for Friday and here it was Thursday.  Was it just a mistake?  Was I not getting a call back?  Finally that afternoon, the phone rang again with the time I was needed to come in on Friday.

I arrived at the Santa Monica studio, after having rehearsed from what I could remember of the script.  “My RA is not the same as your RA” I kept repeating in my head.  But when I got there, my nerves just got worse.  The people around me chosen for the call back looked beautiful and confident.  When they called my name, my legs started to tremble again.  This time there were more people watching me and a different director.  Everything had changed, the room, the placement of the camera, and even how I was to say my lines.  I became as stiff as a board without even noticing.  The director tried to get me to be relaxed in front of the camera, but for the life of me, no matter how much I wanted the gig, it just wasn’t happening.  I told him, “If I can just get my knees to stop shaking, I’ll be ok.”  He chuckled.

They took two takes and then had me wait out in the lobby.  They called two girls back and sent me home.  “thanks”, they said.  I walked out to my car, holding back tears.  I was so close.  I wanted it so badly.  I needed it, but it was too late.

And now you’re hoping for a happy ending.  Well, I’m not sure I can deliver what you may think so just keep reading…  I knew I didn’t get the gig I was hoping for, but what I did get was another call.  “We’re thinking about using you for print,” they said.  I didn’t hear back from them for several days.  I got a call back and they said, “The print job is no longer available but we may use you as a hand model.”  Hand model?  Crazy…never thought of my swollen fingers as being great for modeling.

It was fun being on the list of producers, directors, photographers, etc.  as “talent”.  It was definitely a fun experience!!  I was also used a little in part of the commercial, where you see my shoulder and barely the side of my face.  It’s unrecognizable really, but I had a good time. I was a little concerned that my hands were swelling more and more.  I was part of a clinical trial at the moment, and so I was getting worse because the medication I was taking for it was giving me a reaction.  And I wondered if I would be turned away.  But the truth is, I think the director made up the job for me.  He told me, he had never had an actress be so honest.  And he told everyone what I said on set, about how if I could just get my knees to stop shaking, I’d be ok.  He thought that was so endearing, he said, that he wanted to find a way to make me part of this.  Awwww.  What can I say, How cool is that?

So here I was, on a shoot, watching the commercial be created right before my eyes.  I’m in the entertainment business, so this wasn’t too crazy for me, but what was great was that one of the girls, the print model became a good friend.  Both were from N.Y.  The other girl, is a dancer in N.Y. for Broadway.  I got to eat great food.  I got to be part of the commercial on both days.  And as a hand model, the pay was not bad!  So it wasn’t much compared to what it could have been, but I was still very very grateful!  And the commercial came out excellent.  The girl who acted in was fantastic and I just loved her voice for the part!

So as you can see, when an opportunity comes along, I take it!  And it works the same way for this disease… I give most things a chance, given that I’ve looked into the possibilities on how it will affect me.  Life is full of opportunities and new experiences if you let it!  And I don’t believe that things are always, “too good to be true.”  Sometimes things are simply too good and too true.  :)

Kathlene Turner: From Turning Heads to Turning Her Life Upside Down

Kathleen Turner and Rheumatoid Arthritis

Kathleen Turner and Rheumatoid Arthritis

We know her as a sexual siren who inspired us by her beauty, intellect and charm from “Romancing the Stone”.  And she scared the wits out of us in “War of the Roses”.  For those not following her career, she pretty much dropped out of the lime light for a lengthy period of time. What happened?

She was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis!!

Here’s a little snip it of life for Kathleen during that time:

In my mid-40s, I reached the jolting realization – after decades of assuming I was fertile – that I couldn’t get pregnant again. We went to see infertility specialists to ask about in-vitro fertilisation, but they told me my eggs were probably no longer viable.

Next, we considered using a younger woman’s eggs and Jay’s sperm. However, we would probably have had to use a surrogate mother – and that made me feel incredibly left out. In the end, the obstacles seemed insurmountable, but that didn’t make the fact that I couldn’t have another child any less devastating. For a time, I felt as if I wasn’t a woman any more.

While all this was going on, I had also discovered I was suffering from a severe form of rheumatoid arthritis, which was a complete and total nightmare.

I’d always felt I could do almost anything that required physical strength and skill. I took pride in doing my own stunts. And suddenly all of this was stripped away and my body could respond only with excruciating pain whenever I tried to move it.

My joints swelled up so badly that I could hardly walk. Some days I was in so much agony I couldn’t even climb out of bed. Jay was very, very supportive. He must have been terribly fed up with my problems, though. The greatest shock to me was how I lost belief in my own attractiveness, my own desirability, everything.

With my loss of confidence went a loss of sexuality. That’s a strain on a marriage, a strain that is multilayered.

My condition made sex difficult because, physically, everything hurt so badly that it was so hard to feel sexy, hard for me to be a good partner, hard to be intimate. There was no position that didn’t hurt like hell.

When my pain from the illness was at its worst, I discovered that vodka killed it quite wonderfully. I didn’t want to take painkillers because I didn’t like the way they mucked up my mind, so I used alcohol instead. Stupidly, I didn’t consider that alcohol mucks up your mind, too.

The drinking fed a self-destructive spiral. Like the drugs I was taking for the arthritis, alcohol was a depressant – and when I took them in combination, their depressive effects multiplied. I started to question whether life was really worth living.-Daily Mail

Kathleen Turner is now back in the lime light and spending much of her energy on Broadway.  She’s also written a book about love and life with Rheumatoid Arthritis as well as her career as a Hollywood star.

Kathleen Turner

Kathleen Turner

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