Ashton Kutcher detailed his struggle with a rare disease that left him temporarily unable to see, hear, or walk.
In a clip from the Monday night episode of Running Wild with Bear Grylls: The Challenge, the actor spoke candidly for the first time about his vasculitis diagnosis, a condition that causes inflammation of the blood vessels, and how it’s affected him. In the interview, Grylls asks where his strength comes from, to which Kutcher replies, “Two years ago, I had this weird, super rare form of vasculitis that, like, knocked out my vision. It knocked out my hearing. It knocked out, like, all my equilibrium.” He revealed that it took him another year to regain all of those abilities. “You don’t really appreciate it until it’s gone, until you go, ‘I don’t know if I’m ever going to be able to see again, I don’t know if I’m ever going to be able to hear again, I don’t know if I’m ever going to be able to walk again,’” he said. “Lucky to be alive.” Grylls repeated back, “Lucky to be alive.”
According to the Mayo Clinic, the general symptoms of vasculitis include fever, weight loss and aches and, in more severe cases, hearing loss, blindness, ulcers, skin sores and shortness of breath. It also causes blood vessel inflammation which can restrict blood flow that in turn can lead to organ and tissue damage. There are around 15 to 20 different types of vasculitis, and they are considered to be an autoimmune disease. Some types can improve without treatment, but most require medications to control the inflammation and prevent future flare-ups.
Despite going through so much fear and uncertainty surrounding his health, Kutcher explained that he doesn’t let those tough life situations get him down. “The minute you start seeing your obstacles as things that are made for you, to give you what you need, then life starts to get fun, right? You start surfing on top of your problems instead of living underneath them,” he said. And Grylls agrees, “What do they say in survival? Storms make you stronger. And I think he’s living proof of that.”