Jane Kaczmarek on Arthritis

Arthritis, Healthy Aging, Healthy Living
on February 1, 2012

Millions of moms identified with Jane Kaczmarek’s Lois on the FOX comedy Malcolm in the Middle —not knowing she was suffering from painful osteoarthritis. Now starring in NBC’s Whitney, Jane, 55, has had both hips replaced. “It used to be that my kids would say, ‘Mom, run after us!’ and I’d say, ‘I can’t because of my hip,’” Jane says. “Now they say, ‘Run after us!’ and I say, ‘I don’t want to!’” She shares her thoughts on her life-changing surgeries, and her work with the American Heart Association, on the occasion of Heart Disease Awareness Month.

Spry: Did you hesitate to have a joint replacement so young?

Jane: I didn’t. At the time, I was shooting Malcolm, and I was constantly asking, “Don’t you think Lois would be sitting in this scene?” On the set, I’d think, “If I can make it to the doorknob, then I can lean on it.” It got to the point where I couldn’t function.


Spry: What was your recovery like?

Jane: I used a walker for about a week, and crutches the next week. You get so vastly better every single day. So the minute I felt a twinge of pain in my second hip, I asked my doctor, “When can I have the surgery?”

Spry: What have you learned from working with the American Heart Association, including walking the runway in the Go Red for Women fashion show?

Jane: The biggest thing was that heart disease is the number-one killer of women. There’s so much awareness about breast cancer, but it’s heart disease that most often takes women’s lives. Also I learned that a runway is much longer than you think!

Spry: Have you made any changes in the name of heart health?

Jane: I take exercise much more seriously than I did before. My New Year’s resolution is to walk the dog more, or ride my bike to school if the kids forget their lunch, instead of driving. It feels good to stretch your body a little bit and get your heart pumping. I had my three babies very late in life, so I feel a certain responsibility to stick around to watch them grow up.