Her recovery has taken longer than expected, but actress, Selma Blair, is pushing through her shame to find acceptance. A major step forward: Over the weekend, she (literally) got back on her horse.
“It is what I miss the most about my current abilities or disabilities,” Blair, 48, wrote on Instagram. The actress was once a competitive equestrienne.Read More
“I am a mess with MS,” she says of her 2018 multiple sclerosis diagnosis. “I was told I would be jumping in a year when I was first diagnosed. I believed and have had shame I haven’t pulled through for the rest of us.”
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Getting back on my horse ❤️ It is what I miss the most about my current abilities or disabilities. But today, we managed to get it together to have a few minutes and I could not stop smiling. I can’t feel my left leg, or where my hips are. I break down and freeze when exhausted. We took it slow. I didn’t criticize my equitation too much. I am a mess with MS. I was told I would be jumping in a year when I was first diagnosed. I believed and have had shame I haven’t pulled through for the rest of us. I will always have MS, I now see. Always. But I am going to learn how to use this body, brain and emotions. I am so grateful to have a dear horse and trainer and these gorgeous @celerisuk custom boots. I wish we were showing. One day. Maybe. But I am overjoyed. My trainer @kjrides with @cellardoorequestrian has turned nibbles into a champion babysitter for me. So back in the saddle it is. Keep finding ways to do things. I have hope. Thank you all. Especially Celeris and Cellar Door Farm to keep encouraging me to try again, in style. ❤️
But, like those confronting the changes that cancer brings, she has worked to find peace. “I will always have MS, I now see. Always. But I am going to learn how to use this body, brain and emotions. I am so grateful to have a dear horse and trainer … I wish we were showing. One day. Maybe. But I am overjoyed.”
Vision and Hair Loss: Chemotherapy Side-Effects
Blair revealed her chemotherapy treatment for multiple sclerosis (MS) in August 2019. “Sunday. Rest. Gratitude. I write this with helping someone else in mind… Since chemotherapy and high doses of prednisone I have lost any ability to focus with my eyes,” she wrote on Instagram.
She said that her problems with vision extend to looking at her phone, and says she often starts to panic when she does, “(I find it difficult to be on phone so I am not on social media or communicating w friends through writing very much). Panic sets in. Will this be permanent? How do I get to one more doctor appointment? How will I work and write when I can’t see and it’s so painful?”
And that she always tries to tell herself it’s going to be alright, “Let the body heal. Nourish. Walk slowly. Burst into laughter. Give my nervous system a chance.”
Vivian Ruszkiewicz, a nurse practitioner with OhioHealth, on chemo and hair loss for cancer patients.
When Blair lost her hair during chemo, she was equally transparent in her decision to embrace the patchy, grey hair that grew back, sharing the news on Instagram.
“Baldness came. I didn’t shave head to that end. Of course it fell out. Shiny. Pale dome. Nice enough. It took two months to begin regrowth And it came in fine and pale and very sparse. I shaved it. It looked too sad. For me. I let it grow back. It was patchy in color and I felt like dying it brown. Ridiculous! I really only succeeded in dying my scalp.”
Why Did Blair Undergo Chemo If She Doesn’t Have Cancer?
When you hear chemotherapy, you immediately think cancer…right? So why is actress Selma Blair, who has multiple sclerosis, an autoimmune disease, in which the immune system attacks the body’s central nervous system?
It turns out that chemotherapy can actually be quite effective at killing cells that break down the nervous system if you have MS. As a result, chemotherapy can slow down or stop the disease.
The MS treatment, called “Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation,” or “HSCT,” involves taking stem cells from the bone marrow or blood, wiping the immune system clean with chemotherapy, then reintroducing the cells to “grow” a new immune system.
The treatment has U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for MS, and according to the National MS Society, “Publication of the outcomes from well-controlled clinical studies of HSCT therapy will encourage greater acceptance and use by the medical community.”
Chemotherapy For Cancer and Vision
Chemotherapy, hormone therapy, immunotherapy, and steroid medicines may increase the risk of cataracts. Cataracts are a problem in which the lens of your eye becomes cloudy. Cataracts can cause:
- Blurred, cloudy, or double vision
- Sensitivity to light
- Trouble seeing at night
- Some chemotherapy drugs can cause dry eye syndrome. Symptoms include feeling as if your eyes are dry or have something in them.
If you are at risk for cataracts, you should have regular visits with an ophthalmologist (a medical doctor who treats eye problems).
If cataracts become serious, they can be treated with surgery. In this type of surgery, an eye surgeon will remove the clouded lens and replace it with a plastic lens. You will usually have local anesthesia and be able to go home the same day.
If you develop dry eye syndrome, your doctor may prescribe regular treatment with eye drops or ointments.