AceShowbiz - Newlywed Jamie-Lynn Sigler opens up on her health struggle. Following her wedding with baseball player Cutter Dykstra on Saturday, January 16, the 34-year-old star reveals that she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) when she was 20 years old.
"The Sopranos" alum explains why she kept it secret for a long time. "I wasn't ready until now," she tells PEOPLE in an interview for its new issue. "You'd think that after all these years, somebody would be settled with something like this, but it's still hard to accept."
"I can't walk for a long period of time without resting. I cannot run," she says before jokingly adding, "No superhero roles for me." She continues, "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."
"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 of her struggle at work. "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."
"I'm at a point in my life with my son, with my new marriage, it's a new me. I don't want to hold a secret where it feels like I have something to be ashamed of or have something to hide," so the mother of one states. "It's part of me, but it's not who I am."
It was important for her to speak out to set example for her 2-year-old son. "I didn't want him to get to an age where he felt like he had to keep this secret for me as well," she explains. "I wanted to be an example to him of strength and courage."
Sigler also hopes to "be an example to anyone struggling out there to push through and past your circumstances." She wrote on Instagram, "This has been a part of me, that for many reasons I was terrified to share for the last 15 years since I was diagnosed..but I've finally found the strength to come forward and be ok with who I really am and trust that life will still have things to offer even though I have this disease. It has slowed me down and it can make things hard, but there is still a lot I CAN do."
Hi. My name is Jamie, and I have Multiple Scelrosis. This has been a part of me, that for many reasons I was terrified to share for the last 15 years since I was diagnosed..but I've finally found the strength to come forward and be ok with who I really am and trust that life will still have things to offer even though I have this disease. It has slowed me down and it can make things hard, but there is still a lot I CAN do. I hope I can be an example to anyone struggling out there to push through and past your circumstances. I want to thank @peoplemag for sharing my story in such a huge way and allowing me to reach out. Your publication always handles stories so beautifully, and mine is no exception. And an even bigger thank you to my husband, my son, my family and my friends (who are my family.)..You all have fiercely protected me over the years when I was too scared to share this publicly, for fear that everything would go away. You stood by me, helped me when I needed it, and always made me feel loved and worthy of things even when I felt less than and different. I really am a lucky girl and I can't wait to see what life has in store for me now that I can finally live my truth Love to all of you. XX💋Jamie 📷: by the wonderful @andrewsoutham