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Selma Blair on the five little words that reframed how she saw her MS diagnosis

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Hannah-Rose Yee
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Selma Blair

In a new interview the actor has spoken out about how her new life with a neurological disorder has impacted her son, and the empowering way he helped her reconfigure the way she saw her diagnosis. 

Since Selma Blair revealed that she had been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) in October 2018, the actor has become a fearless advocate for awareness around the neurological disorder.

She has walked the red carpet at the Vanity Fair Oscars Party with a cane, she has spoken about her symptoms and coping mechanisms, and she has praised the way her friends – including Sarah Michelle Gellar – have rallied around her in the wake of her diagnosis.

Now, in a new interview with PEOPLE magazine, Blair has opened up about the ways in which living with MS has impacted her relationship with her son Arthur. Blair revealed that not only has the eight-year-old coped with having to “endure a lot”, including seeing his mother fall down stairs because she lost her balance or rush to the bathroom when she is feeling sick, but he has been a pillar of strength when it comes to reframing and processing her diagnosis.

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“He says ‘Mommy’s not sick’,” Blair said. “Mommy’s brave.” 

Originally, Blair added, she thought that her illness was an embarrassment to her son. Instead, she realised that he loved and admired how open she was with his friends about her health. 

“He said ‘I love when you come to school because you make the kids laugh and you answer all their questions,’” Blair said. “I explain what’s happening [to me] and that my voice doesn’t hut, and we have really decent exchanges. I had no idea Arthur was proud of that. I thought ‘I’m probably an embarrassment’, but to know I’m not was one of my proudest moments.”

One of Blair’s favourite things to do with her son is play dodgeball, or a modified version of the game that works with her symptoms. “I don’t doge because that could be so dangerous,” Blair said, referring to her lack of balance and reduced reflexes. “Maybe in the future for sure, but I don’t move side to side perfectly, and so I get to just hit him and then he throws it back to me, really chivalrously. And then I get to hit him again, and he thinks it’s amazing… It’s fun and it feels good to him. To me too.” 

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Blair is more determined than ever to continue playing dodgeball with her son, speaking to his classmates, taking him to Disney World, and living their life together to the fullest.

“This is it,” she said. “The only life we get. My disease isn’t a tragedy, but I tell myself, ‘You’re going to live in a way that would be an example for yourself and your son.’” 

To accompany the release of her PEOPLE cover, Blair shared a picture of herself on Instagram in hospital with her mobility aid. “I am being discharged from the care of an incredible team of nurses and techs and a visionary Dr who believes in my healing as much as I do,” Blair wrote. This has been a process. And will continue to do be one. I am immunocompromised for next three months at least. So no kisses please.” 

She added that she kept her hospital treatment private so that she could “make sure all complications here were my private space.” “And we got through brilliantly,” she added. “I Thank you all for your love and support… I see things so much more clearly now. And I am excited to share this journey when I am ready. For now, I have recovery… Bye!!! This is the best gift I could give to Arthur.” 

Images: Getty

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Hannah-Rose Yee

Hannah-Rose Yee is a writer based in London. You can find her on the internet talking about movies, television and Chris Pine.

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