The Value of Self-Care While Living With Chronic Disease
- Actress Selma Blair, 51, best known for her roles in “Cruel Intentions” and “Legally Blonde” revealed some of her self-care routines while on her New York terrace.
- Devoted fans on social media have since showered the actress with praise for her resilience and bravery amid her public multiple sclerosis journey.
- Multiple sclerosis is an incurable disease of the brain and central nervous system that causes numbness or weakness in the limbs, fatigue, lack of coordination, blurry vision, and unsteady gait.
- Psychologists say that cancer and chronic disease patients who practice self-care positively influence their self-esteem and overall emotional health because it allows them to view themselves in ways unrelated to their diagnosis.
A resilient Selma Blair, 51, continues to inspire her legions of fans with her courage, bravery, and vulnerability despite living with incurable multiple sclerosis (MS). Her latest social media post shows her casually lounging on her New York terrace patio undergoing a bit of self-care. Her confidence radiates through every photo and stresses the importance of focusing on your physical and emotional health. This is a lesson many people faced with chronic disease or cancer can also learn from.
“NY. Tea. Terrace. Scout. Happy,” Blair wrote in an Instagram caption.
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Blair’s post shows her brushing her teeth while wearing a white sleeveless shirt. She also gave her fans a peek into her facial routine. She is seen wearing a face mask while sipping a cup of coffee. Her photo series concludes with close-ups of her adorable pooch resting happily on the floor.
Blair is a beloved actress known for her roles in “Cruel Intentions” and “Legally Blonde” but her reputation for being an inspiring multiple sclerosis warrior is rivaling her film career. Her latest post garnered tens of thousands of engagements and comments.
While speaking of Blair’s 2021 documentary “Introducing, Selma Blair,” which chronicles her multiple sclerosis journey, Instagram user Steven Benjamin found Blair’s latest post showcasing her self-care routine called the actress “brave and fearless.”
“To see a human struggle so much but have the fortitude to push through all the daily challenges and have the bravery to gallantly try a chemo cell procedure that was still new. She is so brave and fearless that she will let nothing stop her healing journey and it was a success,” Benjamin wrote.
Blair even responded to some of her online supporters. Instagram user Jordan Skye asked, “Does your smiley have the frown face on?! Because mine does today too! Blair responded by saying, “Yup. It’s ok to be sad even when having great days. Right?”
Blair has been open about her multiple sclerosis journey since her diagnosis in 2018. Despite the symptoms associated with the disease which include numbness, weakness, fatigue, and unsteadiness in her feet she’s refused to let MS dominate her life.
“I don’t live in fear of this condition,” Blair told the “Today” show.
Her stubbornness to let the chronic disease control her is among the many admirable traits of the mother of one.
Last year, Blair was named the Chief Creative Officer of Guide Beauty, a makeup product line. She said to Vogue Magazine upon assuming the position, “I’ve seen what beauty can do for an emotional spirit and sometimes that can be everything.”
Taking efforts to lift your emotional spirits is a form of self-care and according to experts plays a big role in a cancer patient’s journey.
Cancer Patients and Self-Care
She further explains that self-care helps patients look at themselves in ways unrelated to their diagnosis.
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Dr. Strongin recommends thinking of self-care in the context of the things in life that bring you the most joy. It doesn’t necessarily mean pampering yourself although if that brings you joy and takes your mind off your diagnosis it should be explored.
More on Multiple Sclerosis
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- Jack Osbourne, 37, Son of Rocker Ozzy, Shares What It's Like Living With Multiple Sclerosis & Learning to Manage Symptoms of the Incurable Disease
Understanding Blair’s Disease
Multiple sclerosis causes the immune system to attack cells that form the protective sheath that covers nerve fibers in the spinal cord. The disruption leads to communication problems between the brain and the rest of the body. Once the protective barrier is damaged, the spinal cord struggles to send messages to the arms, legs, and other parts of the body to function normally.
Symptoms often associated with multiple sclerosis may include numbness, tingling, or sudden weakness in the limbs that affects just one side of the body. Vision problems, lack of coordination or an unsteady gait, and fatigue are also common symptoms.
There is no cure for MS, but MS warriors battling the disease do have methods to manage their symptoms.
Common tools MS patients use to improve their quality of life include wheelchairs, canes, leg braces and some medical treatments called disease-modifying therapies (DMTs).
A study in American Family Physician found DMTs “has been shown to slow disease progression and disability; options include injectable agents, infusions, and oral medications targeting different sites in the inflammatory pathway.”
DMTs help stave off attacks of the disease and prevent relapses, which are triggered when the central nervous system becomes inflamed.
The drug mitoxantrone, which has been used as a DMT, is currently the only chemotherapeutic agent approved for the treatment of MS in the United States. An injection is usually given once every three months for about two to three years. The drug only helps control the disease and does not cure it.
While chemotherapy is widely known as a cancer treatment, it is also effective at slowing down or stopping disease activity in MS.
Blair underwent chemotherapy as part of her treatment for MS. She shared a photo on her Instagram post-chemotherapy of her hair regrowth after losing it during treatment, a common side effect of chemotherapy.
“Generally, in terms of hair loss, it would begin about three weeks, three to four weeks, after your first chemotherapy treatment. Generally, people will start to see some regrowth about four to six weeks after their last treatment. As long as you aren’t being treated with another medication that might cause hair loss,” Rusziewicz added.
Blair’s treatment included HSCT (hematopoietic stem cell transplantation) which is a form of chemotherapy for multiple sclerosis. It 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.
Questions for Your Doctor
If you are facing a multiple sclerosis diagnosis, you may be interested in learning more about treatment options to help you best manage your symptoms. Below are some questions to help kickstart a conversation with your doctor for solutions.
- What forms of treatment do you believe would be most effective based on my MS symptoms?
- Are there any side effects I should expect if I started the recommended treatment?
- How likely am I to be eligible to HSCT chemotherapy to help treat my MS?