Kristen Johnston says she considered suicide during lupus battle

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Kristen Johnston Says She Considered Suicide During Lupus Battle


Kristen Johnston is opening up to People magazine about her lupus diagnosis.

The 46-year-old star of "The Exes" told the mag it all started in August 2013. She realized something was wrong when she had trouble going up stairs - 17 doctors later, no one could tell her what was going on.

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Kristen Johnston says she considered suicide during lupus battle
Actress Kristen Johnston poses for a portrait on Friday July 20, 2012, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - MAY 08: Actress Kristen Johnston attends the 14th Annual Lupus LA Orange Ball at the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel on May 8, 2014 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - MAY 08: Lupus LA Awardee Scott Tuircchi, Kristen Johnston and Lupus LA Awardee Lannette Turicchi attend the Lupus LA Orange Ball on May 8, 2014 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Tiffany Rose/Getty Images for Lupus LA)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - MAY 08: Judith Hill and actress Kristen Johnston attend the Lupus LA Orange Ball on May 8, 2014 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Tiffany Rose/Getty Images for Lupus LA)
WATCH WHAT HAPPENS LIVE -- Pictured: Kristen Johnston -- Photo by: Charles Sykes/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images
WATCH WHAT HAPPENS LIVE -- Pictured: Kristen Johnston -- Photo by: Charles Sykes/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images
Actress Kristen Johnston attends A Night of New York Class gala benefit to help ban New York City carriage horses on Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012 in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)
Actress Kristen Johnston attends the premiere of "Bride Wars" in New York on Monday, Jan. 5, 2009. (AP Photo/Peter Kramer)
"3rd Rock From the Sun" stars Kristen Johnston and French Stewart hug upon arriving at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium for the 49th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards in Pasadena, Calif., Sunday, Sept. 14, 1997. Johnston won the Emmy for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy series. (AP Photo/Mark J.Terrill)
Chicago Bulls basketball star Dennis Rodman tapes a scene with Kristen Johnston and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, left, on the set of "3rd Rock from the Sun" for the weekly television show in which Rodman guest stars, Thursday, Aug. 8, 1996, in Los Angeles. Rodman stars in the season premiere episode of "Third Rock," playing himself but recognized as an alien by one of the show's cast members. The show airs Sunday, Sept. 22. (AP Photo/Susan Sterner)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 02: Kristen Johnston promotes 'Guts: The Endless Follies and Tiny Triumphs of a Giant Disaster' at Barnes & Noble 82nd Street on April 2, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by John Lamparski/Getty Images)
NEW YORK CITY, NY - MARCH 16: Kristen Johnston arrives at the 'Anderson Cooper Show' on March 16, 2012 in New York City, New York. (Photo by Christopher Peterson/BuzzFoto/FilmMagic)
WATCH WHAT HAPPENS LIVE -- Pictured: (l-r) Andy Cohen, Kristen Johnston -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
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"After months of painful tests ... Johnston ... finally visited rheumatologist Dr. Daniel J. Wallace, who diagnosed her with lupus myelitis, a rare form of lupus that affects the spinal cord."

But though this sounds scary, Johnston was thankful she finally had a diagnosis, telling People, "If I had to live like that forever, I would have killed myself. It was like I was swimming through molasses. I couldn't even hold my own neck up."

A People reporter who visited "Good Morning America" reiterated just how scary the situation was.

"Doctors say if she had waited even just a few more weeks to seek treatment, that she could have ended up a quadriplegic."

Lupus International explains: "Myelitis refers to dysfunction of the spinal cord. This is a serious complication of lupus that causes paralysis or weakness." It's caused by inflammation of the sac surrounding the spinal cord or by blood clots.

Johnston went through chemotherapy and steroid treatment, and her doctor confirmed she's in remission.

The actress has been open about her past substance abuse and getting sober. In a blog post about staying sober through her lupus treatment, she wrote, "Who dodges two medical should-be-dead disasters?"

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