Guta Stresser recently underwent an MRI to monitor multiple sclerosis, just over a year after being diagnosed with the disease. The result was satisfactory: the lesions in the actress’s brain are stationary, without any sign of evolution.
The 49-year-old artist performs treatment against the progression of the disease, which still has no cure, with the use of an expensive and difficult-to-access drug, the immunomodulator Dimethyl Fumarate, which is now offered by the Unified Health System (SUS) in 2020. Per month, the actress would spend about R$ 6 thousand on the medicine, which needs to be used daily, both in the morning and at night.
— I’m super closed with the SUS pharmacy. This mechanism of access to medicines works very well. Not to mention that the medicine I use is very expensive and you can’t find it everywhere — explains Guta. — When talking about multiple sclerosis, it is necessary to remember that there are several types of the disease and several types of medication to treat it, and not everyone adapts to the same medication. At first, for example, I had a reaction and my skin was very red, feeling hot. My doctor told me to insist and, over time, I adapted.
On the advice of doctors, the artist has also used cannabidiol oil, a substance found in small volumes in the stem and leaf of marijuana, as a complement to the treatment. This year, researchers from the University of São Paulo (USP), in Ribeirão Preto, identified the therapeutic action of the compound (popularly known as “medical marijuana”) in preventing the neurological and general medical consequences of diseases such as depression, chronic pain and multiple sclerosis. .
— The canadibiol comes in more as a friend. I strongly believe in the potency of Cannabis in reducing certain problems. I hear a lot of reports from people who feel the same way about using canadibiol,” she says.
Emotion with ‘wave of affection’
Since last Monday (20), when he publicly revealed the disease, Guta Stresser has received many messages on his cell phone. They are messages of support and solidarity written by friends such as Lúcio Mauro Filho and Natália Lage, colleagues on the program “A Grande Família” (2001-2014), as well as fans and people the actress does not know.
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— When I read everything, I always start to burst into tears and I need to turn it off — says Guta, known to the general public as Bebel from “The Big Family.” — When I go through a process of sadness, which is this frightening diagnosis, I am touched by the “counter wave” of affection and affection, something that is priceless.
The way there was not easy. Since receiving the result of an MRI in early 2021 — the exam showed, at the time, lesions in the brain, indicating a picture of “demyelinating disease” (learn more below) — Guta has been dealing with a “long and intense” journey to assimilate the fact. At first, he shared the news only with his family and his partner, musician André Paixão. She was afraid of being seen as “the actress with sclerosis” and therefore losing work.
The first person, outside the family, to whom Guta Stresser revealed the diagnosis was also actress Ana Beatriz Nogueira, who deals with the same type of disease, in a relapsing-remitting form (with the occurrence of outbreaks and improvement after treatment). , since 2009. The two acted together in “Malhação: Brazilian lives”, in 2018. The year after the soap opera, ten years after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, Ana Beatriz publicly assumed the condition.
— There is still a lot of ignorance and prejudice with the disease — says Guta. — And it was very important to open up to Ana. The moment I told her, she made me laugh so hard on the phone… It was wonderful! She asked me to see the acronym for my illness and confirmed that we had the same type. And then she said: “Remember that I walked backstage in ‘Malhação’ with a thermos bag full of cold soda? So, it’s because the heat, for us, is a horrible thing”.
With her colleague, Guta began to understand each other better and to calm down. A chronic, autoimmune, and progressive disease, multiple sclerosis affects the nervous system and worsens as the immune system damages a substance called myelin, which protects nerve fibers in the brain and spinal cord—hence the term “demyelinating disease.” When lesions or scars appear, nerve cells cannot communicate with each other effectively.
the discovery of the disease
Symptoms of this complex disease often affect mobility, senses, speech, vision, and balance. Guta noticed that “something was wrong” shortly before participating in the “Dança dos Faustão”, in the extinct “Domingão do Faustão”, in 2020. At home, he took a fall, “as if he suddenly lost the strength of his own legs”, how she counts.
She, who always had the ability to memorize texts and record scenic marks, started to have difficulty with motor coordination when dancing on the show’s stage, on Sundays. She occasionally forgot basic words and began to feel dizzy and hear a buzzing noise frequently. Believing she had labyrinthitis, she went to an otolaryngologist and, in the face of clinical exams that did not point to any problem, she requested an application for an MRI of the head, as she was distressed by the lack of diagnosis. She then discovered the disease.
Although the mechanism of multiple sclerosis is known, the cause is still a mystery. Doctors reinforce, however, that there is treatment, despite the fact that the cure has not yet been discovered. Today, Guta takes the medication offered by the SUS and performs physical and cognitive exercises regularly to reduce the effects of the disease.
“There are times when the body seems to rust and the muscle hardens. So we need to be on the move. This affects a structural issue, since I do need to do gymnastics, physical therapy and a daily self-analysis. Practices that need to be done with the right and left sides of the body, alternately, are good, because they also exercise the brain. I went back to reading more intently. I don’t stop a book halfway through, to train focus – says she, who also usually dedicates herself to yoga sequences and ballet exercises. “For me, the pains and all the symptoms really increase in the summer, when it’s hot. With Ana (Beatriz Nogueira), I learned a lot. She has a lot of knowledge about the disease and she welcomed me a lot and made me calm about the professional issue. Ana used to say to me during this period: “Can’t you see that I’m always working, girl?”.
50th birthday party
Today, Guta recognizes that publicly disclosing the disease — and talking openly about it — helps to minimize sclerosis-related stigma. And she realizes, just over a year after receiving the diagnosis, that she cannot be paralyzed in the face of fear. In 2022, she will stage Nelson Rodrigues’ play “O Marriage”, with the company Os Fodidos Privilegiados, in São Paulo. Soon, she will start reading “Ana and the lieutenant”, a never-before-seen show by Rafael Camargo.
— A fear goes through my head, like: hey, will people stop calling me to work because they’ll think ‘Oh, Guta has multiple sclerosis’. This is a fear. My work is my own body. I need to memorize a text or else lift a glass or take ten steps without falling (laughs). I was, yes, afraid of people getting into prejudice and not giving me the opportunity to work anymore. Being an actress is my livelihood,” she says. — I was very afraid to open the disease. But today I think that what doesn’t kill me makes me stronger. Now I feel stronger, in a way. There are many people who also have multiple sclerosis and came to exchange information. I see that there is a whole network that has formed beside me.
“After all, it’s half a century. And now, with multiple sclerosis, I have to celebrate this birthday a lot (laughs) — she justifies, good-naturedly. — Turning 50 is scary because of the natural side of our finitude. In fact, because I believe in science, I am certain of this finitude. I know that the clock is ticking and that one hour the candle goes out. But let me tell you, I’m much better now than I’ve ever been before, age-wise. Really, I feel better. There’s a side of tranquility, you know? I want less euphoria.