Newly-married Actress Jamie-Lynn Sigler Has Been Secretly Battling Multiple Sclerosis (Ms) For Almost 15 Years.
The Sopranos star, who wed pro baseball player Cutter Dykstra in Palm Springs, California over the weekend (16-17Jan16) has revealed she was diagnosed with the illness, which affects the nervous system, when she was 20 years old, a year after she was diagnosed with Lyme disease.
She confesses she kept her health crisis a secret as it was hard to accept, telling People magazine, "I wasn't ready until now... You'd think that after all these years, somebody would be settled with something like this, but it's still hard to accept."
She credits her new husband and their two-year-old son Beau with inspiring her to speak out, adding, "I think I'm at a point in my life with my son, with my new marriage, it's a new me and I want to live my truth. I don't want to hold a secret where it feels like I have something to be ashamed of or have something to hide... It's part of who I am, but it's not who I am... I didn't want him (Beau) to get to an age where he felt like he had to keep this secret for me as well... I wanted to be an example to him of strength and courage."
In an accompanying video on People.com, she says of her diagnosis, "It was a shock, it was surprising... to get the diagnosis was confusing but also strange because I didn't feel sick. I didn't feel like anything was really wrong. At the time my ideas of MS were limited... I thought it meant wheelchair, I thought it meant your life was over. And so there began my almost 15 years of being in denial... I didn't want to believe that was going to be my future."
Sigler admits the symptoms were bad over the past ten years, but she refused to let film and TV bosses see she was struggling.
"Sometimes all I needed was like five or 10 minutes to sit and recharge but I wouldn't ask, because I didn't want them to be suspicious," she says. "I can't walk for a long period of time without resting. I cannot run. No superhero roles for me... Stairs? I can do them but they're not the easiest. When I walk, I have to think about every single step, which is annoying and frustrating."
Sigler, 34, takes medication for the incurable condition which have kept her symptoms stable for the past six years. She adds, "Things are manageable now... It takes a fighting attitude to deal with all this. This disease can absolutely take over your life if you let it."
Sigler was previously married to actor A.J. Discala between 2003 and 2006.