For the first time, Selma Blair is opening up about receiving one of the most aggressive and almost barbaric treatments in medicine for her multiple sclerosis diagnosis. Blair received a stem cell transplant but has avoided talking about it until sitting down with doctors Mehmet Oz and David Angus for TIME 100s health summit this week.
I havent talked about it much yet because I wanted to show everyone that the proof is in the pudding, but my pudding is still kind of scrambled. I dont want to scare people away, she said.
A stem cell transplant, which Dr. Angus described as aggressive and barbaric, is aggressive chemotherapy to sort of reset your immune system, he explained onstage. On top of dealing with MS symptoms, we hammer the hell out of you with a drug, he said.
Related:Selma Blair Talks About Battling MS: My Disease Isnt a Tragedy
Before, she was suffering from extreme symptoms like the inability to use one of her legs. The disease modifiers did not work for me at the time, and I was really declining more rapidly than I found acceptable, Blair, 47, said.
She was encouraged to try a stem cell transplant but she was wary. I had no intention of doing it, I was like, Im not ruining my body, whats left of it. Why would I put this horrible drug in it? Chemotherapy? I dont have cancer, she said. But I was kind of out of options and I was looking.
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She did agree to a micro dose of chemo, though, and immediately felt some relief. It made her think, maybe I just have too much junk in there, and that killed some junk. What do I care if it kills my whole body, because my whole body is just one macrophage of yuck.
So, she did it, but there were no guarantees this would work, instead, she said, I was warned. You kind of make your plans for death, [and] I told my son I was doing this and he said he wanted me cremated. Im here though! We dont have to worry about that!
But it was a little hard. I had a great support system, she continued. She explained that she had more chemo than cancer patients typically receive, because the aim is to kinda kill you. And its the stem cell that allow you to live with the amount of chemo. The chemo is the MS cure, if in fact it does that. But luckily, although she did have some complications, the Cruel Intentions star felt that it went pretty well.
Related:Parade Rewind with Jack Osbourne: Fatherhood,DWTS, and Living Well with Multiple Sclerosis
While shes still recovering, shes feeling pretty good. She has her cane and her bike, both of which she relies on heavily. One thing she doesnt have is her hair, but that doesnt really bother her.
That was a small thing, I never minded hair loss or any of the things that would be ego-involved, she said. My dream is to lie next to my son at night and be there as long as he needs me. And hopefully do something for people, because Ive heard so much from people with chronic diseases or MS, theyre scared. And they dont know when its gonna get worse, and I didnt know anything about it.
She knows more now, and its safe to say shes already made a major impact with that knowledge.
Do you have a friend suffering from a disease?Find out howyou can support them.
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