Jamie-Lynn Sigler recently sat down with People to talk about her private battle with multiple sclerosis, revealing that she has lived with it for the past fifteen years. The actress says that although things are mostly manageable now, she made it a point to try and keep anyone from noticing her health issues while she was working after The Sopranos ended.
“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,” Sigler said.
Now, she says, she manages things a little better than when she was first diagnosed at age 20. After trying several medications over the years, she found a pill that helps her manage the symptoms, which affect the central nervous system. Still, it’s not an easy disease to live with. For Jamie-Lynn, having a “fighting attitude” is the key, because without it, she says, “This disease can absolutely take over your life if you let it.”
Jamie-Lynn says that she wasn’t ready to talk about her battle until now because she still struggles with it. And even though she has a 2-year old son and new husband–baseball star Cutter Dykstra–to help her through everything, she says she has to focus on every movement she makes. Living that way takes a lot out of her.
“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.”
Where once MS meant a lesser quality of life–or even a shortened one–today there are many medicinal options available for battling the symptoms. Jack Osbourne, son of Ozzy and Sharon, was diagnosed with the disease in 2012 and says that his initial reaction was panic. When he realized how many treatments there were available to him, he says, he saw that things weren’t so bleak.
“Once the panic subsided, I reached out to people and got put in contact with some people who had been living with MS for a while and started learning about different treatments and learned it’s s—-y, but it’s not the end of the world,” Osbourne said.
As for Jamie-Lynn, she says part of her wanted to open up about her struggle with the disease for her son, because she wants to be an example of courage for him…and for any future children that may come along.
“I don’t know what’s to come. But I’m excited for the first time in a long time. I’ve got my brain and my heart and I’ve prepared myself for everything that could happen. But I’ve got an amazing husband, the best son, and I hope that we can make more babies and just keep having fun. I’m the luckiest girl in the world.”