Actress Christina Applegate is speaking candidly about her multiple sclerosis diagnosis and how she's determined to finish telling her story in Netflix's "Dead to Me," the third and final season of which is set to release this month.
"This is the first time anyone's going to see me the way I am," Applegate told the New York Times, in an interview published on Tuesday. "I put on 40 pounds; I can't walk without a cane. I want people to know that I am very aware of all of that."
Applegate was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in August of 2021. The disease disrupts communication between the brain and the body and can cause pain, numbness and tingling, muscle weakness in the extremities and difficulty with coordination and balance, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Cases can range from "relatively benign to somewhat disabling to devastating," according to the institute.
There is currently no cure for MS, though the institute states that "many individuals do well with no therapy at all," and "steroid drugs may be prescribed to treat acute symptoms of an attack, such as inflammation," thought they "do not affect the course of the disease over time."
Applegate revealed her diagnosis in a pair of tweets on Aug. 10, 2021.
"Hi friends. A few months ago I was diagnosed with MS," she wrote. "It's been a strange journey. But I have been so supported by people that I know who also have this condition. It's been a tough road. But as we all know, the road keeps going. Unless some a------ blocks it."
"As one of my friends that has MS said 'we wake up and take the indicated action'. And that’s what I do," she continued. "So now I ask for privacy. As I go through this thing. Thank you xo."
According to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, women are more likely to have MS than men. Most people are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, but children and older adults may also develop the disease in rare instances.
Speaking with the Times, Applegate said that she wished she had "paid attention" earlier to potential signs of the disease, such as worsening balance and tingling extremities.
The actress revealed that she received her diagnosis while she was on-set for "Dead to Me" and production subsequently halted for five months while she began her treatment.
Months later, Applegate came back to finish the job. Now, the last season of "Dead to Me" is set to be released on Netflix on Nov. 17.
Applegate is no stranger to hard work. She is best known for her iconic roles in the "Anchorman" movies and television shows like "Married With Children" and "Friends," for which she won an Emmy.
Still, the actress said that finishing the "Dead to Me" series was "the hardest thing she has ever done."
"If people hate it, if people love it, if all they can concentrate on is, 'Ooh, look at the cripple,' that's not up to me," Applegate told the New York Times. "But hopefully people can get past it and just enjoy the ride [...]."