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Ex Fabula: Arthritis Awareness Month

Art Montes
Deserae Constantineau shares a story on-stage.

Well Milwaukee, you did it again. You turned out in droves to help celebrate Ex Fabula's sixth season and to listen to new, personal stories from the storytellers you voted “All Stars.”

There was a lot of laughter and even a few tears as each storyteller got down to the “Nitty Gritty.” The stories were as diverse as the storytellers themselves and all we can do is sit back and say thank you.

Thank you to our storytellers, our volunteers, our community partners, our season 6 sponsors Bel Air Cantina and Transfer Pizzeria and Cafe, and most importantly, thank you to our audience. We would not do this if not for your continued support!

Though Season 6 has come to a close, you can still get your Ex Fabula fix every weekend here at 89.7 FM and

May is National Arthritis Awareness Month. Who knew that there are over 100 different conditions under that wide arthritis umbrella? Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), an autoimmune disease that affects not only the joints, but also internal and external organs, is the second most common arthritis in the country. Often misunderstood and misdiagnosed, RA can be both physically and emotionally draining.

Credit Art Montes
Sue Blaustein sharing a story.

In honor of National Arthritis Awareness Month, we have two very different stories about life with RA.

Sue Blaustein took the stage for our “My Nemesis” Story Slam in 2014. She takes us through her lifetime battle with coordination, from jumping rope to folk dancing. Knowing her downfall was anything with a sequence of movements, Sue began yoga classes when she was in her early 40s. Soon she learned that the handstand was her new nemesis—until she found herself very sick with joint pain, fever and exhaustion. Sue was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis and soon found that her immune system was now her greatest nemesis.

Our second storyteller, while having the same diagnosis, had a very different experience with the disease.

Diagnosed with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis (JRA) as a child, Deserae Constantineau takes us through the Milwaukee Public School’s mainstreaming program during the '80s and early '90s. Separate but equal seemed to be the model when educating children with disabilities and Deserae fought not only her disease but the box the school system tried to put her in.

The storytelling season is over but Ex Fabula is still hard at work. Check out our website for summer collaborations and perhaps a pop up event or two.

We have the Stage. You have the Story. Let’s Share.

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