Over the years, I have observed how others deal with multiple sclerosis and its symptoms. This disorder is not one-size-fits-all, and it doesn’t discriminate.
Recently, I came across a video of ABC News interviewing actress Selma Blair about her multiple sclerosis diagnosis and management. Although the interview happened over a year ago, it has opened my eyes to how aggressive this disease can be, and how Blair fights to maintain her life as an actress.
When Blair was diagnosed with MS in 2018, she had no idea what the disease is. This is a common reaction, as many people have heard of MS but are uncertain of the details. I constantly must explain MS to others, including how it affects my body.
I struggle to explain to some details because it is not a visual disease or something one can see on my body. Blair noted that it is called the “snowflake disease” because it’s different for everyone.
Blair said doctors didn’t take her seriously when she first described her symptoms to them. She said she had to fight to get an MRI because doctors wouldn’t order one for her. Depending on the person and the doctor, diagnoses often are delayed due to the complex nature of the disease and of the testing for it.
In her 2019 interview, Blair described a situation I can relate to: She explained that while taking her son to school a mile away, she’d have to pull over on her way home to take a nap. In my case, my job was only about a half-hour away from my house, but I still would pull over to take a nap to avoid falling asleep while driving. I would never offer rides to friends or go out after work, because my fatigue was so bad.
In the ABC News interview, Blair’s voice sounds broken, like she was struggling to speak. Spasmodic dysphonia is an uncommon voice disorder that causes spasms in the muscles of the larynx or voice box, which can cause the voice to sound different and make it difficult for a person to speak. Watching Blair helps to reveal the many sides and symptoms of MS, ranging from mild to severe.
The video of the interview may be short, but it is informative and gives me hope. Blair is an actress with multiple sclerosis. I find it’s not often we hear from celebrities who have major diseases. Blair shows that this disease can affect anyone.
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