'From One Immunocompromised to Another:' Actress Christina Applegate Sends Support To Selena Gomez
- Actress Christina Applegate, 50, offered words of encouragement to fellow actress Selena Gomez, 30, after watching Gomez’s new documentary revealing her struggles with mental health and lupus, which is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks its own tissues, causing widespread inflammation and tissue damage in the affected organs, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,
- Applegate herself was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, an auto-immune disease that causes nerve damage, in 2021 and has been open about her struggles with the disease.
- The fall and winter months are coming, which mean preventative measures around COVID-19 should be taken such as getting a booster shot.
“To @selenagomez Am watching your documentary,” Applegate wrote in a tweet. “From one immunocompromised to another. I’m here xo.”Read More
Gomez, known for her role in Only Murders in the Building was diagnosed with lupus, also an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks its own tissues, causing widespread inflammation and tissue damage in the affected organs, according to the CDC. It can affect the joints, skin, brain, lungs, kidneys, and blood vessels.
“MS and Lulus are baby sisters from other mothers and a dad who owns a weird truck,” Applegate added. “Xo. Good on you kid for opening you life to those that need an eye open.”
The new documentary, My Mind & Me shows Gomez in a vulnerable position as she opens up about her physical and internal struggles with lupus and bipolar disorder.
“From body image issues to painful lupus flare-ups and, of course, her ongoing journey with mental health, Gomez bravely invites fans into her life,” said People Magazine.
“I’m kind of scared. A lot of people are going to see this whole other side of me — and I’m like, ‘I hope they like it,'” Gomez told Kelly Clarkson during an appearance on her talk show.
There is unfortunately no cure for lupus, but medical interventions and lifestyle changes can help control it, according to the CDC. Common symptoms of a lupus flare up are:
- Feeling more tired
- Stomach ache
- Severe headache
Gomez had a kidney transplant for her lupus in 2017. Sometimes treatment with medication isn’t enough, and people with lupus nephritis may need chronic dialysis or a kidney transplant, according to the Lupus Foundation of America.
Addressing Your Mental Health
For many like Gomez, being open and addressing your mental health struggles is hard. We have many resources to share on how to overcome those hurdles and how to get back to being yourself again.
Dr. Samantha Boardman, a New York-based psychiatrist and author, tells SurvivorNet: “Are your coping strategies that you’re using now, are they helpful in the way that they were in the past?”
Taking care of your mental health is a process and won’t happen over night. People may turn to many different avenues to help them cope, such as traditional therapy, support groups, meditation, and sometimes medical intervention such as antidepressants.
Dr. Boardman suggests working to recognize any negative thoughts that may be making the process of cancer treatment more difficult, and trying to dismantle those to be more “realistically optimistic.”
Questions to Ask Your Doctor
- What type of treatment should I seek if I’m struggling with negative thoughts?
- Are there any local support groups for people in my situation?
- How might struggling with mental health affect my treatment?
- Should I consider medical intervention such as antidepressants?
Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms
MS causes the immune system to attack the protective sheath (myelin) that covers nerve fibers which leads to communication problems between your brain and the rest of your body, according to the Mayo Clinic. Eventually, MS can cause permanent damage or deterioration of the nerves.
Signs and symptoms of MS can vary widely but may include the following, according to the Mayo Clinic:
- Numbness or weakness in one or more limbs that typically occurs on one side of your body at a time, or your legs and trunk
- Electric-shock sensations that occur with certain neck movements, especially bending the neck forward (Lhermitte sign)
- Tremor, lack of coordination or unsteady gait
- Partial or complete loss of vision, usually in one eye at a time, often with pain during eye movement
- Prolonged double vision
- Blurry vision
- Slurred speech
- Tingling or pain in parts of your body
- Problems with sexual, bowel and bladder function
The Mayo Clinic also says most people with MS go through periods of new symptoms or relapses followed by quiet periods of disease remission. These relapses can develop over days or weeks and the remission periods can last for months or even years. Around half of patients will have symptoms steadily increase within 10 or 20 years from diagnosis, which is secondary-progressive MS, and that rate varies greatly between patients.
Immunocompromised: Should You Be Getting A Booster?
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a booster shot for the immunocompromised as a way to help protect them from COVID-19 and the delta variant and with winter right around the corner it might not hurt to look into getting one.
The booster was created specifically for those immunocompromised individuals who are at higher risk of health problems if exposed to COVID-19. The CDC has listed out specific criteria on eligibility, which includes:
- Anyone currently receiving cancer treatment for blood cancers or tumors
- Those who have received an organ transplant or are taking medication which weakens their immune system
- Anyone who has gone through a stem cell transplant within the last two years
- Those who have moderate to severe immunodeficiency (a condition which fails to protect someone’s body from illness or infection)
- Those who have advanced or untreated HIV
- Anyone currently being treated with high-doses of corticosteroids (also known as steroids)
This booster is a critical step in making sure the immunocompromised population is protected from both COVID-19 and the delta variant. Not only is this group at higher risk of serious health complications, or death, if exposed to the virus, but they also are more likely to transmit the virus among their households.
Furthermore, studies have shown that the COVID-19 vaccine has been found less effective in cancer patients receiving chemotherapy. This is especially true in blood cancer patients. The studies show that cancer patients have fewer antibodies than individuals who are not immunosuppressed when they first receive the vaccine, and after their second dose. Therefore, this booster shot would greatly benefit cancer patients in further protecting them.
With assistance from Shelby Black