Celine Dion Opens Up On Battle With Rare Illness

Céline Dion, a voice that has captivated millions around the world, faces her most personal challenge yet—not on stage, but in her daily battle with a rare neurological disorder. For many, Dion’s voice has been a backdrop to life’s biggest milestones, including weddings, graduations, and even anniversaries.

Celine Dion Opens Up On Battle With Rare Illness

However, the music icon recently shared insights into her life with Stiff-Person Syndrome, an illness marked by severe muscle stiffness and spasms that could easily dim a lesser spirit. At 55, Dion sat down for an intimate interview where she discussed not only her illustrious career but also her ongoing health challenges. Despite the severe physical demands imposed by the condition, Dion’s spirit remains undeterred.

“I’m well, but it’s a lot of work. I’m taking it one day at a time,” Dion told Vogue France. “I haven’t beat the disease, as it’s still within me and always will be. I hope that we’ll find a miracle, a way to cure it with scientific research, but for now I have to learn to live with it. So that’s me, now with Stiff Person Syndrome. Five days a week I undergo athletic, physical and vocal therapy.”

Stiff person syndrome (SPS) is a rare neurological disorder characterized by fluctuating muscle rigidity and painful spasms in the trunk and limbs. The exact cause of SPS is unknown, but it is believed to involve an autoimmune component, where the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks its own tissues. This may be linked to antibodies that interfere with neurotransmitters, which are chemicals that help transmit signals in the brain and nervous system.

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“I work on my toes, my knees, my calves, my fingers, my singing, my voice… I have to learn to live with it now and stop questioning myself.,” Dion said, “At the beginning, I would ask myself: why me? How did this happen? What have I done? Is this my fault?”

“Life doesn’t give you any answers. You just have to live it!” she said. “I have this illness for some unknown reason. The way I see it, I have two choices. Either I train like an athlete and work super hard, or I switch off and it’s over, I stay at home, listen to my songs, stand in front of my mirror and sing to myself. I’ve chosen to work with all my body and soul, from head to toe, with a medical team. I want to be the best I can be. My goal is to see the Eiffel Tower again!”

Symptoms of SPS can vary but typically include progressive stiffness and rigidity, leading to difficulty moving. Spasms can be triggered by sudden movements, loud noises, or emotional distress. These spasms and rigidity can significantly impair mobility and may be debilitating.

“Above all, the love of my family and my children, the love of the fans too, and the support of my team,” Dion explained. “People who suffer from SPS may not be lucky enough or have the means to have good doctors and good treatments. I have those means, and this is a gift. What’s more, I have this strength within me.”

“I know that nothing is going to stop me.”