Many people are surprised to learn that certain lung problems can be related to rheumatoid arthritis.
From the camaraderie to the competition, Sonny Hutchison relishes every moment on the tennis court.
“It’s that sense of community and athleticism. I think it’s the greatest sport. It requires stamina, grace, strength and strategy. It’s a challenge. Even if it’s just for fun, it gets your blood and your brain going.”
Two years ago, Hutchison’s men’s team made it to the U.S. Tennis Association sectional tournament in Utah.
Hutchison, now 69, never let on to his opponents, but he was experiencing terrible pain from arthritis throughout the tournament.
“It’s insidious. It’s deep, like a knife, and right in the joints,” Hutchison said.
His wife, Mary Anna, is his elementary school sweetheart. Thankfully, she’s also a nurse. She kept close tabs on her husband throughout the tournament and encouraged him to soak in hot baths every evening so he could try to recover from the day’s exertion on the courts.
Each morning, he’d wake up so sore that he had to walk on the treadmill for 30 minutes to loosen up so he could do more than hobble around the courts.
The Hutchisons have known each other since about age 4 when both were growing up in Louisville, Kentucky. They went on to marry after each graduated from college. Hutchison is an award-winning producer and photographer. He’s co-founder of High Noon Entertainment, which produces hit shows including Cake Boss and Fixer Upper. He and a partner also produced the critically acclaimed documentary series, How the West Was Lost for the Discovery Channel and they’ve produced numerous films for the National Park Service.
A startling discovery: can rheumatoid arthritis be related to lung problems?
Over the past few years, Hutchison had been getting treatment for two health challenges that he assumed had nothing to do with one another.
About six years ago, he had a scan to evaluate his heart health. His heart was fine, but the scan showed some spots or scarring on Hutchison’s lungs, known as pulmonary fibrosis or interstitial lung disease (ILD). He started getting treatments for his lungs.
A few years later, the joint pain began. The arthritis moved inexplicably from one area of his body, like the shoulder, to another, like his knee.
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