Selma Blair says she’s in remission from multiple sclerosis as a result of undergoing a stem cell transplant.
The 49-year-old actor, best known for such movies as “Cruel Intentions,” “Legally Blonde” and “Hellboy,” was diagnosed with the disease in 2018.
“My prognosis is great. I’m in remission,” Blair told a Television Critics Association panel on Monday.
She underwent hematopoietic stem-cell transplantation which uses stem cells derived from bone marrow, peripheral blood or umbilical cord blood.
“It took about a year after stem cell for the inflammation and lesions to really go down, so I was reluctant to talk about it because I felt this need to be more healed,” she said. “I don’t have any new lesions forming.”
According to the Mayo Clinic, multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks the protective myelin sheath that covers nerve fibers. It can cause vision loss, pain, fatigue and impaired coordination. Its cause is unknown.
“There’s still maintenance, treatment and glitches, and wonderful things,” said Blair, who at times spoke in a halting voice on Zoom.
“Cognitively, I’m very changed and that’s been the harder part,” she added.
The actor reveals her fight with MS in “Introducing, Selma Blair,” an intimate documentary directed by Rachel Fleit. It debuts Oct. 15 in theaters and begins streaming Oct. 21 on Discovery+.
“Selma was ready to tell this story in all of its honesty and rawness and truth,” Fleit said. “She had a few medical emergencies during filming. When she was like, ‘Yes, show it all,’ I was like, ‘This is extraordinary.’”
Blair said she had been experiencing symptoms for years before she was officially diagnosed.
“I’ve been carrying around some sort of chronic illness, either building up or had for a long time, so it wasn’t a surprise to me,” she said. “Just the name was a surprise.”
Blair is a single mother to her 10-year-old son, Arthur, whom she credits as the source of her strength. Her mother, Molly Ann Cooke, died in May 2020 at age 82. Blair was unable to visit her in her home state of Michigan because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“I really do feel now, with this pandemic, we’ve all gotten a kind of diagnosis that’s incurable. It’s called living right now,” she said. “Everyone has really realized our mortality. It taught me a lot more patience and understanding.”
At times, Blair said, she wishes she could go home to Michigan and recover quietly. But she also relishes her ability to raise awareness and provide encouragement to others.
“I never really liked life, I do now. Strange, huh?” she said. “I was so scared in life, so to suddenly start to find an identity and a safety in me, and figure out boundaries and time management and energy, I’m having the time of my life.”