The Real Housewives of New Jersey's Danielle Staub has been struggling for some time now with a rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis that she finally feels comfortable talking about. Why? Well, because as she recently told The Daily Dish: "It's not going anywhere; it's a life sentence."
"Last season, I was trying to learn how to navigate and accept it into my body because I always felt like there's nothing that's going to slow me down, nothing's gonna stop me. I've had this diagnosis for a while, but it wasn't really settling in — and then it settled in," she recalled about handling the news of her health.
RA is defined as "a chronic inflammatory disorder affecting many joints, including those in the hands and feet." The Mayo Clinic notes that RA "is a chronic inflammatory disorder that can affect more than just your joints. In some people, the condition also can damage a wide variety of body systems, including the skin, eyes, lungs, heart and blood vessels. An autoimmune disorder, rheumatoid arthritis occurs when your immune system mistakenly attacks your own body's tissues."
When Danielle returned to the RHONJ drama last season, she knew that her changed appearance due to the treatments she was getting for RA would certainly have people talking.
"I was blown up and bloated. People just assume whatever they want to assume for the reasons [like], oh I had filler. I had this. I had that. No, I gained 20 pounds last season 'cause they had put me on a regime of [a steroid called] prednisone and chemotherapy. And my teeth were chipping," she said. "It's all stuff that I hid because I was like I don't want people to say, 'Oh my god, shes looking for sympathy.' I didn't want to hear any of that. I didn't even know what to do about this. All I knew was that every minute of the day, I was grateful to be alive," she recalled. "But I was also cursed with this fight that my body's having against me and I didn't want anybody to know how bad it really was because that would be like me accepting defeat. And that's why I kept it to myself."
She did let one friend in on the pain she was feeling. Teresa Giudice became a person she quite literally leaned on when she was physically struggling: "What she would do is be like, 'I'm going to help you.'"
Danielle notes that to stay healthy, she has a physical regimen that includes yoga and dancing because "a body in motion stays in motion."
Danielle has also changed up how she treats the disorder because undergoing treatments like chemo were only making her feel about 30 percent better. Now she relies on working out, as well as CBD products, in addition to other treatments like trigger point injections and cortisone.
"Owning up to it and accepting it into my body, I decided to go off all those treatments. I didn't like the way it was making me feel, even though it was addressing the pain. Now I'm about 10 percent better, but I'm more moving every single day. And it takes me four to five hours a day to get my feet moving 'cause the worst onset of it is in my left foot. And it is unbearable. Once I get going, then I go and I'm able to continue my day, but always with pain. I also do rigorous amounts of turmeric. I put Himalayan sea salt stones. I heat them up and I put them on my feet. I also have a sauna built into my home. Heat's good for me. It's not good for everybody, but it's good for me."
Check out more Danielle, below.