Thief River Falls, Minn., woman copes with rheumatoid arthritisMichelle Kasprick, 45, of Thief River Falls is one of 50 million Americans living with arthritis. She was the adult honoree for the first Grand Forks Arthritis Walk on Oct. 13 at Choice Health and Fitness in Grand Forks.
By: Pamela Knudson, Grand Forks Herald
Michelle Kasprick, 45, of Thief River Falls is one of 50 million Americans living with arthritis. She was the adult honoree for the first Grand Forks Arthritis Walk on Oct. 13 at Choice Health and Fitness in Grand Forks.
Tori Byklum, 13, of Fisher, Minn., was the other honoree for the event.
“We usually choose one honoree,” said Kelly Brekke, community development manager for the Arthritis Foundation, Fargo. “But since this is the first Arthritis Walk in Grand Forks, we decided to have two.”
Kasprick has dealt with arthritis for half her life.
In her early 20s, she woke one morning with severe shoulder pain that was later diagnosed as bursitis, a form of arthritis that causes small sacks of fluid near the joints, tendons and bone to swell to painful proportions.
“It started slow,” she said. “At first, we didn’t know what it was.” She later received a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis, and has since undergone total knee replacement and foot surgeries.
A few years ago, Kasprick had another health issue to contend with: she was diagnosed with breast cancer. A lumpectomy, chemotherapy and radiation have been effective, and she’s now cancer-free.
She never would have checked had it not been for an aunt who received a breast cancer diagnosis, she said. “I was lucky, because I found it so early.”
She, her husband, Paul, and their daughters Alyssa, 13, and Jordyn, 10, all planned to participate in Saturday’s Arthritis Walk in Grand Forks.
“It’s my first walk,” she said in a recent interview.
Takes its toll
Over time, arthritis has exacted a toll.
“The worst was in my feet,” she said. “I bowled for many years, but I had to quit that. I
really miss bowling.” She also had to give up a job at a lumberyard because the cement floors there were too hard on her feet.
The only time she didn’t have to cope with the pain of the disease was when she was pregnant, she said. “The arthritis was totally gone. It was weird.”
“I wish they could come up with something that would trick the body into thinking it was pregnant.”
No one in her family had arthritis, she said, but since she was diagnosed, her mother and grandmother have too been diagnosed with the disease.
“I was just the first to get it.”
Her 65-year-old mother was playing on a volleyball team until the effects of arthritis sidelined her. “She was quite active,” Kasprick said. “In fact, we were really an active family until (arthritis) started happening.”
Call Knudson at (701) 780-1107; (800) 477-6572, ext. 1107; or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copyright 2012, Grand Forks Herald.