If you have someone close suffering from multiple sclerosis, you already know the strength and the constant struggle this disease requires daily. Multiple sclerosis seriously reduces the quality of life and brings about numerous difficulties.
In the fall of 2018, actor Selma Blair revealed that she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, and her life has been drastically affected by it.
She was recently spotted enjoying a family day at Disneyland, in the company of her 7-year-old son, Arthur, and her best friend Sarah Michelle Gellar with her children, 9-year-old Charlotte, and 6-year-old Rocky. Sarah pushed her in a wheelchair by Sarah and using it for support to walk while her son took a break from walking.
Selma suffers from an aggressive case of MS, called spasmodic dysphonia (or laryngeal dystonia), which causes the muscles in her vocal tract spasm and interrupts her speech fluency.
Yet, she remained positive and decided to share her story to encourage others.
When she was asked to describe her life with the disease, she admitted crying because she realized that she had to give in to a body that has a loss of control. Since her son was born, she was in an MS flare-up, and she gave her best to seem normal.
Just like many others, her biggest obstacles were emotional, and she claims that doctors did not take her frustration seriously, caused by the stress of being a single mother, and the shame she felt when she was overwhelmed with daily responsibilities.
She then reached out to actor Michael J. Fox, hoping his experience living with Parkinson’s disease in the public eye could help her, and his wisdom and strength gave her hope.
Her best friend, Sarah Michelle Gellar, provided constant support, and when she made her first public appearance with the support of a cane, Sarah shared a supportive and loving open letter on Instagram, saying:
“This is my dear friend, Selma Blair. Last night she stood on the world stage for the first time, since being diagnosed with MS. And later this week, she is taking an even bigger step, and speaking publicly on Good Morning America. To say I’m proud would be a gross understatement. When I have a cold, I want to hide from the world under my covers. But not Selma.
She is facing this diagnosis, the way she faces everything, with dignity, grace and head on. I know the support and encouragement that she has received on this platform has truly been a source of strength for her. This is not an easy journey, but Selma will not let this define her. I love you, James.”
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This is my dear friend @selmablair Last night she stood on the world stage for the first time, since being diagnosed with MS. And later this week, she is taking an even bigger step, and speaking publicly on @goodmorningamerica (with, my girl crush @robinrobertsgma ) To say I’m proud, would be a gross understatement. When I have a cold, I want to hide from the world under my covers. But not Selma. She is facing this diagnosis, the way she faces everything, with dignity, grace and head on. I know the support and encouragement that she has received on this platform has truly been a source of strength for her. This is not an easy journey, but Selma will not let this define her. I love you James.
Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease which attacks the protective myelin of the spinal cord and brain and causes various symptoms, such as:
- Balance issues
- Gait Bladder Dysfunction
- Bowel Dysfunction
- Dry mouth
- Cognitive Impairment
- Optic neuritis
- Paroxysmal Symptoms
- Sensory Impairment, Numbness / Tingling
- Sexual Dysfunction
- Poor coordination
- Uhthoff’s Phenomena (Heat Intolerance)
- Dysarthria or difficulty speaking
- Dysphagia (difficulty swallowing)
- Hormonal Influences for women with MS
- Inappropriate Affect
- Mood Lability / Bipolar Affective Disorder
There are four main types of multiple sclerosis, primary-progressive MS, secondary-progressive MS, clinically isolated syndrome, and relapsing-remitting MS.
Yet, some people have mild symptoms only, like blurred vision and numbness and tingling in the limbs. It is not easy to precisely estimate the number of people affected by multiple sclerosis.
The National Institute for Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) reports that 250,000–350,000 people in the United States are living with MS, while the National Multiple Sclerosis Society estimates the number could be closer to 1 million.
If you are one of these, you will find the following tips very useful in your everyday life:
- Have three big meals during the day to keep the energy levels elevated, and several smaller ones rich in nutrients
- Increase the intake of foods rich in fiber to prevent diabetes and diabetes, which aggravate multiple sclerosis
- Limit the intake of coffee to keep the bladder under control
- To ease shopping, use a motorized scooter
- Wear a cooling vest during the summer
- Put hand controls in the car so you can speed up and apply the brakes without using your feet
- Use a fan attached on your desk to keep cool while you work
- Wear lightweight shoes with good tread to avoid falling
- Purchase electric can openers and forks and knives with easy-grip handles
- Get better rest, try to sleep more, take a nap to fight fatigue during the day
- Try relaxing music, yoga, meditation, or deep breathing exercises to fall asleep easier.