June 01, 2007

Lucille Ball Shared Common Disease

Lucille Ball shared the same disabling, crippling disease that afflicted the famous French painter Renoir, and actress Kathleen Turner among over 40 million other people in the U.S. according to Buzzle.com.

Comedy queen Lucille Ball of "I Love Lucy" fame had rheumatoid arthritis when she was 17 but that didn’t stop her from pursuing her dreams. Her first attack came while she was working as a model for Hattie Carnegie’s famous dress shop. She felt excruciating pain in her legs and the doctor who saw her said she would probably end up in a wheelchair as a result of the disease. Lucy was later referred to an orthopedic clinic near Columbia University where she was given experimental "horse serum" shots for several weeks that drained her money but didn’t stop the pain. Frightened and discouraged, she returned to her parent’s home in Jamestown, New York.

"Gradually the pain subsided and finally one day with the support of her father and doctor, Lucy stood up, feeling wobbly and unsteady. Her left leg was now somewhat shorter than her right leg and it pulled sideways. To correct this, she began wearing a 20 - pound weight in one of her black orthopedic shoes. Though Lucy had residual pain she was able to take a part offered her with the Jamestown Players and she later returned to New York City in search of her dreams," said Carol and Richard Eustice - the people behind About.com’s Arthritis Guide who both have rheumatoid arthritis as well.

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