Selma Blair ‘Was Warned’ Before Undergoing Chemotherapy: You ‘Make Your Plans for Death’

Julie Mazziotta

Nearly a year after Selma Blair learned she had multiple sclerosis, she found herself “out of options” to relieve the intense pain and physical difficulties she had because of her condition.

The actress and advocate said that her treatments had been largely unsuccessful at that point.

“The disease modifiers did not work for me at the time, and I was really declining more rapidly than I found acceptable,” Blair, 47, said during a panel at the TIME 100 Health Summit in New York City on Thursday.

In her search for options, she was encouraged to try a stem cell transplant and an “aggressive” course of chemotherapy to restart her immune system, but Blair was wary.

“I had no intention of doing it, I was like, I’m not ruining my body, what’s left of it. Why would I put this horrible drug, chemotherapy, in me? I don’t have cancer,” she said. “But I was kind of out of options and I was looking.”

(L-R) Selma Blair, Dr. Mehmet Oz and Dr. David Agus at the Time 100 Health Summit | Brian Ach/Getty Images for TIME 100 Health Summit

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Blair was given a “microdose” of chemotherapy just before her stem cell transplant, and “immediately felt some relief.” That convinced her to go through with it, but it was a major risk.

“I was warned,” she said. “You kind of make your plans for death, [and] I told my son I was doing this and he said he wanted me cremated. I had more chemo than they usually do for cancer patients, because they almost kill you. And it’s the stem cell that allows you to live with that amount of chemo. The chemo is the MS cure, if it does in fact happen.”

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Blair is still recovering now, and doesn’t feel that she’s made it to the other side just yet, “but overall, it went pretty smoothly.”

“I haven’t talked about it much yet because I wanted to show everyone that the proof is in the pudding, but my pudding is still kind of scrambled. I don’t want to scare people away,” she said.

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Selma Blair | Craig Barritt/Getty Images for TIME 100 Health Summit

Blair is also waiting on her hair to grow back in, but that isn’t a big concern.

“That was a small thing, I never minded hair loss or any of those things that were about ego,” she said. “My dream was just to lie next to my son at night and be there as long as I can.”