Selma Blair has opened up about her early multiple sclerosis (MS) symptoms in a new Instagram post.
The actress, 48, recalled the moment three years ago when she was walking in designer Christian Siriano’s show at New York Fashion Week and felt her left leg going numb for the first time.
"When I first stepped out I couldn’t feel the ground or how to lift my left leg," she said. "My brain was trying to compute. As I walked the runway, stunned."
Numbness or tingling is fairly common in those with MS, along with other symptoms like fatigue, weakness, walking difficulties, emotional changes, slurred speech, vision problems, and more. The central nervous system disease results in a breakdown in communication between the brain and rest of the body.
Blair first revealed she was diagnosed with MS in October 2018. The actress initially thought she had a pinched nerve, but an MRI revealed lesions on her brain.
She has been very open about what it’s like to live with the chronic condition. She invested in a cane and walking bike to help with her mobility issues, shaved her head as she underwent chemotherapy, and gave the world a look at what it’s like to be a parent to her son (above) Arthur, 9, while battling a disease.
“I have #multiplesclerosis,” Blair wrote on Instagram, adding that she’s likely had it for 15 years. “I am disabled. I fall sometimes. I drop things. My memory is foggy. And my left side is asking for directions from a broken GPS. But we are doing it. And I laugh and I don’t know exactly what I will do precisely but I will do my best.”
In August last year she wrote: "I will always have MS, I now see. Always. But I am going to learn how to use this body, brain and emotions. I have hope."
The actress recently shared that she was able to ride her horse Mr Nibbles despite the numbness in her left leg.
“When I bought Nibbles three years ago, it was my biggest investment in myself. A sober self with increasingly unremitting exhaustion,” she said. “I couldn’t feel my bum or left leg on my horse. The proprioception issues, inability to sit still, spasms, twitches. Jerks. Dystonia increased.”
“I just laughed and thought getting older is impossible! But it was MS and it got too big and I had to take a break until now,” she continued. “I am at the beginning. Still. And I cannot stop smiling. I cannot.”
She added a week ago: "Here I am. Boots on. Awkward learning. Wheezing and exhausted from just trying to feel in my body. Everything feels out of practice. So I need to try harder. Make mornings fun. Get out before it’s time for a nap. Get out to just walk. But the best is when I can get to Nibbles. Always."
What is multiple sclerosis?
Multiple sclerosis affects more than 25,000 people in Australia and is three times more common in women than in men.
MS means there is damage to the protective sheath (known as myelin) that surrounds the nerve fibres in the brain and spinal cord. This damage causes scars, or lesions, in the nervous system, meaning that the nerves can’t send signals round the body properly.
A person's risk of developing MS is increased if they have a close relative with the condition.
The cause of MS is not known, but theories include that it is an autoimmune disease; that it is caused by genetic or environmental factors (it is more common the further away from the equator you live); and that it is caused by a virus.
There is currently no known cure for MS although there are treatment options. MS affects different people in different ways, and treatment often involves managing symptoms.