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Celine Dion’s doctor explains what happened to the singer after she suffered muscle stiffness and painful spasms on camera

Multiple award-winning singer, Céline Dion has been living with symptoms of stiff person syndrome for 17 years, a new documentary, “I Am: Céline Dion,” has revealed. 

Detailing her life with the condition, her physician Dr. Amanda Piquet, director of the autoimmune neurology program at the University of Colorado School of Medicine Anschutz Medical Campus, revealed what really goes on with the singer when she suffers from the illness.

In one scene from the documentary, Dion was having a physical therapy session shortly after viewers see her recording a new song, “Love Again.”


She’s going through what appear to be standard exercises with her physical therapist, part of her treatment efforts to improve her health and hopefully perform again.


Then, she starts to experience cramping in one of her legs, and within minutes, her whole body is tensed up to the point where she cannot speak, move or even change her facial expression, as she winces in pain.

As her medial crisis continues, she sheds tears.


Her doctor then asks her to squeeze his hand if she can hear him. She remains motionless and curled up, but finds a way to show him that she’s aware of what’s happening to her.

During the scene, Dion receives a benzodiazepine nasal spray, Dr. Amanda Piquet, says it part of a class of depressant drugs that relieve anxiety and reduce muscle spasms.

Piquet says, “That anxiety, that panic, that continued spasm that was not breaking then very quickly triggered just a complete whole body spasm.”

“It’s not a seizure,” Piquet clarifies. “This is a spasm that is occurring, and patients are aware of what’s going on. There’s a lot of anxiety, there’s a lot of panic, your adrenaline’s rushing.”

The film’s director, Irene Taylor, recalled what it was like to witness this scene

“It was the most extraordinarily uncomfortable moment in my life, as a filmmaker but also as a mother, as a fellow human, because I didn’t know what was happening,” Taylor said to TODAY’s Hoda Kotb.

“I had this uncertainty whether to keep filming or not. But (Céline) gave me the strength to just keep going. We had been filming together for many months at that point, so she had really trained me, ‘Just keep going. If I have to stop you, I’ll stop you.’”

“Her body was enduring something that was unimaginable, and I wasn’t sure if she was aware of it,” Taylor continued. “I wasn’t sure if she was going to survive it. It’s really hard to even sit next to her and talk out loud about it because it was very intense.”
 

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