Transcript for What to know about MS in wake of actress Selma Blair’s powerful interview
We have our “Gma” cover story. So many of you have weighed in with reaction and questions after our interview with actress Selma Blair about her Ms diagnosis. Dr. Ashton is here to try to answer some of them but we want to revisit what Selma told us. Ms may have atexted her voice but not the power of her words. I cried. I had tears. I wasn’t — they weren’t tears of panic. They were tears of knowing I now had to give in to a body that had loss of control. And there was some relief in that because ever since my son was born, I I was in an Ms flare-up and didn’t know and I was giving it everything to seem normal and I was self-medicating when he wasn’t with me and, you know, I was drinking. I was in pain, I wasn’t always drinking but there were times when I couldn’t take it and I was really struggling with how am I going to get by in life? And not taken seriously by doctors just single mother, you’re exhausted, financial burden, blah, blah, blah, and I even got to the point where I said I need to go to work and I have to stay awake. I dropped my son off at school a mile away and before I got home I’d have to pull over and take a nap and I was ashamed and I was doing the best I could and I was a great mother but it was killing me and so when I got the diagnosis, I cried with some relief like, oh, good, I’ll be able to do something. What are doctors telling you? What’s your prognosis? The doctor I saw, he said within a year I could have at the time he said 90% of my abilities back. So this is — this is to say let’s meet again next year and see if I’m better. If I’m not and I can still have a conversation that’s good enough. I was a little scared of talking and even my neurologist said, no, this will bring a lot of awareness because no one has the energy to talk when they’re in full flare-up. But I do. Because I love a camera. You got a date. I’ll see you in a year. Okay, okay. It’s a deal. Oh, my goodness. Again, so much reaction. Her courage and her openness, Dr. Jen Ashton is here. There were a lot of questions as well, because one thing that really struck a lot of viewers is when Selma like so many others have said it took so long for her to be diagnosed. Is that common? It’s common because you have to understand the intrinsic nature of Ms. A chronic inflammatory and often debilitating neurologic disorder. We don’t know what causes it. Right now there is no cure. There is just management. When you hear a celebrity coming forward, it’s doing exactly what she said, increasing awareness and educating people but when you talk about making a diagnosis, this is not like strep throat. There is not one single decontinue tiff test to make it so what’s required is two different episodes separated in time and location in our anatomy in the central nervous system where there’s damage or flares and the symptoms, a lot of the symptoms that present with Ms often present with other conditions as well so it’s partially a diagnosis of exclusion. And women more so than men. Right? And we heard from one of our viewers, Christina said so many people do not understand this disease because everyone who has it suffers differently. And that’s something that we’ve seen over and over. We have. It’s not the same in every person. Why is that? Imagine this is actually think of this as our nerve, okay. Our nerves are wrapped in ray protective coating called myelin. In Ms, you see that covering, that protective coating get damaged, get inflamed and it strips away along the nerves and affects the way they signal and communicate and that signaling goes on all over our bodies so that’s why the symptoms can be so vague, so broad, so common. The common ones, yes, they’re more common things like problems with your vision, problems with your gait or the way we move. We’ve heard with Selma difficulty with speech because of that requiring nerve transmission. Pain, numbness, tingling can be common with Ms but can be common with other thing. She is so hopeful. She is incredible — and many who struggle with this and you just don’t know. You have to maintain that positive attitude. That’s the most important thing, robin. Any chronic condition, there are ups, there are down, there can be flare, there are periods of everyone will have their own individual course and the team taking care of that person is multidisciplinary. Yes, there are neurologists and physical therapists and speech therapists, because we have to do what’s right for you over a long period of time and the body often follows the mind and the spirit so your frame of mind and your attitude is so important and as you know as a survivor and a thriver, a lot of times we get that from outside support. We certainly do. All right, Jen, thank you so very much. Dr. Jen Ashton will answer more of your questions about Ms on Facebook live.
This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.