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Sometimes I can't walk but I want to keep on performing; ME AND MY HEALTH.. HEAVENLI DENTON.

Byline: Warren Manger

Rejoining The Honeyz for ITV (1) See interactive TV.

(2) (iTV) The code name for Apple's video media hub (see Apple TV).
2's The Big Reunion, Heavenli Denton, 38, hoped it would give the trio a second shot at fame. But in rehearsals, Heavenli, who lives in Portugal with husband James and their four kids, Daisy-Mae, 10, Jayden, eight, Honey, four and Zachary, two, was told she had rheumatoid arthritis rheumatoid arthritis

Chronic, progressive autoimmune disease causing connective-tissue inflammation, mostly in synovial joints. It can occur at any age, is more common in women, and has an unpredictable course.
.

"The pains in my left ankle started a year ago. I was a keen runner, but sometimes I wouldn't be able to run again for days because of the pain.

At first, I wasn't worried, it would come and go.

It gradually got worse and my ankle would swell up. Sometimes I took painkillers but it was sporadic - I thought it was just tendonitis tendonitis /ten·do·ni·tis/ (ten?do-ni´tis) tendinitis.

ten·do·ni·tis
n.
Variant of tendinitis.
. I had a blood test done but I kind of forgot about it.

On The Big Reunion, it was hurting a lot, but I was concentrating on such a big change in my life that I didn't pay it too much attention.

I knew that the show at the Hammersmith Apollo was coming up and how important it was.

I was worried my ankle would inhibit my movements and I didn't want to let the girls down, so I thought if I had a quick cortisone cortisone (kôr`tĭsōn'), steroid hormone whose main physiological effect is on carbohydrate metabolism. It is synthesized from cholesterol in the outer layer, or cortex, of the adrenal gland under the stimulation of adrenocorticotropic  injection it would help.

In February, I took a lunch break from tour rehearsals and went to see a specialist for the injection. The results of my blood test had come through.

I was so shocked when the doctor told me that I actually had rheumatoid arthritis, a chronic disease that was affecting my whole autoimmune system.

If I'd known I was getting my test results I would've taken someone with me. I remember him explaining what it was, but it was all a blur.

The moment he mentioned the words "chronic disease" I went into a worried daze.

I didn't know anything about it, so I just panicked.

The worst thing was having to return to the rehearsal studio afterwards to continue practising with the girls.

On the way, I phoned my husband. He was miles away, at home in the Algarve, but he tried to calm me down.

When I arrived, the film crew asked if I was OK and that was it, I just burst out crying.

Later that afternoon, I did a make-up free shoot for Heat and I remember thinking "I must look so puffy around my eyes because of all the crying". Amusingly, they used my head shot on their next cover.

As I tried to come to terms with the news, I went on every website I could find, read books and gathered as many details as I could.

There were just so many unknowns. No one could tell me why this had happened or how bad it was. My first thought was, I have four children to look after - you fear the worst.

The doctor prescribed me the medication methotrexatebut some medication methotrexate methotrexate, drug used in halting the growth of actively proliferating tissues. Introduced in the 1950s, it is used in the treatment of leukemia, psoriasis, and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. , but some people I spoke to said their hair started falling out and it made them really irritable. I also read about more serious side effects Side effects

Effects of a proposed project on other parts of the firm.
.

I decided to tackle the disease with natural remedies and exercise. I'm hoping with a positive frame of mind I will be able to tackle my arthritis the drug-free way.

Basically, my blood is very acidic, so I do as much as I can to make my body more alkaline.

I have had to change my diet considerably and cut out foods that aggravate the inflammation in the joints. I stopped eating tomatoes and potatoes, as well as some fruits. I can still eat apples and bananas, but I avoid citrus fruit.

I also drink cider vinegar and honey three times a day when I can, have black molasses three times a day, a pint of water with bicarbonate of soda when I remember and a couple of Epsom salt baths a week.

Drinking vinegar probably sounds strange as it's acidic but it has the opposite effect when it's digested into the body - it turns the blood quite alkaline.

During the live shows, I was in discomfort, but I was determined not to let it stand in my way.

On stage, we had to descend the stairs in six-inch heels.

It was difficult to pull my suitcase on and off the tour coach and into a new room every night. But I had injections, so the actual pain was quite mild.

When I went home after the Hammersmith show, the pain did get bad.

It also started to move around my body, and is now more evident in my right wrist.

At the time, we were toilet-training my youngest, Zachary, and I was having real problems trying to change his nappy. The pain was excruciating.

In the end, my mum had to come over and stay for a couple of weeks to help out.

Since then it has been so far, so good. My diet along with the swimming, cycling and running seems to be keeping a flare-up at bay.

I still get good days and bad days. There are times when I can't walk down the stairs Adv. 1. down the stairs - on a floor below; "the tenants live downstairs"
downstairs, on a lower floor, below
.

Daily tasks you take for granted like lifting a full kettle and doing up my bra strap can be ever so painful.

My husband also tends to lock the handbrake really tight after he drives the car. Sometimes I'm there for five minutes with both hands struggling to take it off.

The most upsetting thing is that sometimes I have difficulty lifting up Zachary to give him a cuddle. Because my right wrist is so sore, I have to try to use my left arm.

But I really think that having my four children around me keeps me busy and it makes me do things I otherwise might have stopped doing.

I now make myself run nine miles, three times a week, and hope to build up to running the London Marathon next year if I can get a place.

I'd love to run it for an arthritis charity to make people more aware that it's not just something old people get - there are younger people struggling with this.

I know so far I have been lucky, but the likelihood is it will get worse. Arthritic pains can become a crippling condition, but I am determined not to let them hold me back in any way.

We haven't told the children the ins and outs ins and outs  
pl.n.
1. The intricate details of a situation, decision, or process.

2. The windings of a road or path.
. They just know sometimes mummy has pains.

It is a daily struggle but it has even given me more drive to achieve success with The Honeyz.

The girls know about the condition and have been supportive, but it's not a subject that we've really needed to discuss since the diagnosis as I've never let it get in the way."

As told to Warren Manger

THE BIG REUNION IS DUE TO RETURN TO ITV2 LATER THIS MONTH FOLLOWING THE BANDS BEHIND THE SCENES AS THEY DEAL WITH A SECOND SPELL IN THE SPOTLIGHT AND HEAD OUT ON TOUR.

What the expert says about arthritis

Jo Cumming, head of information and helplines at Arthritis Care says:

"Rheumatoid arthritis is different to osteoarthritis osteoarthritis
 or osteoarthrosis or degenerative joint disease

Most common joint disorder, afflicting over 80% of those who reach age 70. It does not involve excessive inflammation and may have no symptoms, especially at first.
, which is the more common condition.

"It is a disease where the immune system immune system

Cells, cell products, organs, and structures of the body involved in the detection and destruction of foreign invaders, such as bacteria, viruses, and cancer cells. Immunity is based on the system's ability to launch a defense against such invaders.
 gets overstimulated and causes inflammation, swelling and damage to the joints. It can also affect the internal organs if it becomes more severe.

"There are 800,000 people in the UK with rheumatoid arthritis. It is usually diagnosed after 16 so even young people can suffer from it.

"Occasionally, they will suffer flare-ups when their immune system gets overactive o·ver·ac·tive  
adj.
Active to an excessive or abnormal degree: an overactive child.



o
. This can last for days or even weeks at a time. When the joints swell up they become hot and painful. It is debilitating de·bil·i·tat·ing
adj.
Causing a loss of strength or energy.


Debilitating
Weakening, or reducing the strength of.

Mentioned in: Stress Reduction
 and so excruciating it often leads to profound fatigue.

"Researchers are currently working to find out why people suffer from it and are looking at whether there are genetic factors.

"This is important work because if they can pinpoint the cause they will be much nearer to finding a cure.

"In the meantime Adv. 1. in the meantime - during the intervening time; "meanwhile I will not think about the problem"; "meantime he was attentive to his other interests"; "in the meantime the police were notified"
meantime, meanwhile
, there are already much better painkillers and medication to reduce the swelling.

"There are also new drugs available to regulate the disease and charities who offer people support to live much better lives with the condition."

For a free pack on rheumatoid arthritis, call the Arthritis Care helpline on 0808 800 4050.

It was difficult to pull my case on and off the coach

CAPTION(S):

FAMILY: Heavenli with Jayden

HEYDAY: With Celena Cherry and Naima Belkhiati

REUNION: In rehearsals for the show
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Aug 1, 2013
Words:1418
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