Arthritis Today|May/June 2020
Emily Simpson is used to pressure. On The Real Housewives of Orange County (RHOC), she regularly navigates the drama and intense scrutiny that come with being part of a reality show. Yet even the stress of having cameras document her every move didn’t compare to the difficulties of living with chronic arthritis pain.
Two years ago, the 44-year-old attorney and mother of a 6-yearold daughter and 4-year-old twins began feeling pain and stiffness in her left hip. Walking long distances increased her discomfort, so she began taking shortcuts, like parking her car as close as possible when she drove her daughter, Annabelle, to school. On family outings to the movie theater, Emily (whose husband, Shane, is the father of her two “bonus daughters” – Chanel, 14, and Shelby, 19) would call dibs on the aisle seat so she could comfortably stretch her legs.
“I modified so many aspects of my life,” she admits. “When you have chronic pain, every second of the day is a struggle.”
A Growing Problem
Emily initially believed the pain in her left hip and leg were the result of a pulled muscle.
“I took Advil for my pain but it got increasingly worse,” she says. “I reached the point where I couldn’t lie down or even tie my shoes without assistance from my husband.”
The emotional impact finally caught up with Emily last year as she saw her quality of life plummet. Working out with her personal trainer left her wincing in agony, and she found herself having to tell her twins, Luke and Keller, that she didn’t feel well enough to play with them. On RHOC, she was open about her struggles with pain and discomfort and kept pushing through.
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