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Matt Iseman

My name is Matt Iseman. I am 38 years old. I am an actor, host, comedian, doctor, and I have rheumatoid arthritis.

So I go all the way through medical school, I get my MD, and I realize my heart was not in medicine.

And in the interim I decided to move out to LA and do stand-up comedy, and that was in the summer of '99.

Do you guys have music in Kirkland?


No, no!

Matt Iseman

This is like Footloose, you guys have to go to a warehouse, got to cut loose, footloose!

I love stand-up comedy. I love the immediacy of performing in front of a crowd and getting that feedback. But being on the road is brutal.

It becomes hard just interrupting your routine, especially out here, between the shows.

Heading out on the road to these places, and a lot of times they will get you up early in the morning to do the radio.

You become like a vampire. You are getting up at 6 a.m. and you are sleeping during the day, and then you are going doing your shows, then you are sleeping.

Skip a few nights of sleep and it really catches up with you in a big way.

I was diagnosed at the Christmas of 2002 and I was hoping for a snow board and I got a chronic autoimmune disease instead.

For the most part when I am doing stand-up comedy, I won't talk about having RA in the clubs because a lot of people look at me and they kind of think,

well, are you joking, are you mocking the disease? It's hard to say, no, look here's my blood test and here are some X-rays showing the changes.

And also in the clubs a lot of times people don't want to hear about serious life issues.

But when I am talking with physicians groups, or nurses groups or patient groups or arthritis groups, it's actually, it's interesting to talk about it

and do it in a humorous way because so many times when people talk about these diseases, it's somber, sounding the death knell, and this is such a serious issue to deal with.

I went on the treatment, within six months I had lost 45 pounds. I was back to doing everything short of jogging.

I couldn't play the piano, but I couldn't before I had RA, so that was a wash.

What's great for me is being able to laugh about the disease and let other people know that, like, having RA is not a death sentence,

and whether you are responding to the drugs or not, life goes on, and figuring out how you are going to go on and deal with it.

In baseball news a man named Ryan Ward received a $2,500 fine and two years probation for impersonating Yankee pitcher Joba Chamberlain.

On a typical work day where I am doing both Sports Soup and Clean House, I have to get up around 5:45 in the morning to head over to the studios

where we tape Sports Soup to get ready and they do makeup and other things along those lines to get me ready for it.

But we have to do some voice-over, read through the script. There is a lot of kind of pre-work do.

Tonight on Sports Soup, reunited and it feels so good!

Well, I end up start taping around 8:00 or 8:30 and then usually we take about an hour, we are done taping the show.

From there I head over to the Clean House set round 2, which can be anywhere in the LA area, and that's typically our reveal day.

The day when we show the homeowners the house, which is then the culmination of a week's worth of work.

Female Speaker

Now what's the best way to breathe new life into my hardwood floors?

Matt Iseman

Well on Clean House, we've come across a lot of houses that have carpet over the hardwood floors. It's actually gift wrapped to a certain extent.

We will start shooting there somewhere around noon or 1, and last time I think we finished close to 9 o'clock, at night. So it's definitely a full day.

I certainly don't hide it. I don't tout the fact either, but inevitably it will come up.

I mean, particularly with the people I work with a lot because I am going in for my treatments every so often, getting the infusions.

Male Speaker

You have rheumatoid arthritis?

Matt Iseman


Male Speaker

In your knees or ...?

Matt Iseman

But it doesn't have me. Ha ha!

If I am really complaining, oh I am so sore, I can't lift that couch. I've got RA. I will use it as an excuse sometimes to kind of lay in some -- I am pretty healthy.

But people would never know it. There is no typical day, they just tend to be long days, very long days and a lot of being on my feet.

Getting as much sleep as I can, I am trying to hydrate a lot, drink a lot of water, has been really important in term of sustaining the energy.

And eating a reasonable diet, again, trying to avoid the McDonald's and the chocolate bars,

especially having rheumatoid arthritis, taking care of the little things definitely makes a big difference.

When I left medicine my dad said to me, something that really stuck with me, and that's life is short, so do what makes you happy.

Next Article:

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RA Checklist Challenge

Want to take better care of yourself? See how many things you can check off the list in the next 30 days!

I ordered salmon instead of a burger when I went out to eat today.

I took a walk 5 days this week.

I didn't let my RA stop me from having fun today.

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You Are Not Alone

  • 1.3 million Americans are living with RA.
  • 75% of people with RA are women.
  • 3 in 5 people with RA try to stay active.
  • 91% of people with RA are able to keep working.
  • 3 in 5 patients are satisfied with their doctors.
  • 80% say they hope for new, innovative treatments.
  • 75% want to feel better in 3 months of treatment.
  • 80% want treatment to resume full social lives.
  • 2 out of 3 say friends don't understand their RA.
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