Jamie-Lynn Sigler has revealed that she has been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) and that she's been battling it for 14 years.
Jamie-Lynn, who just married her boyfriend of three years, Cutter Dykstra, said she was initially diagnosed with MS while she was 20 years old and starring in the popular HBO show, "The Sopranos."
"I wasn't ready until now," she told People magazine about publicly revealing her illness. "You'd think that after all these years, somebody would be settled with something like this, but it's still hard to accept."
MS damages the central nervous system and has no cure.
Jamie said she was relatively symptom free for a while, but the disease reared it ugly head over the past decade and has had an effect on her.
"I can't walk for a long period of time without resting. I cannot run. No superhero roles for me," she joked. "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."
She's had to cover up her illness for years and she's "run the gamut" with MS medication.
"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.
Her symptoms have been stable now for six years.
"Things are manageable now," she said. "It takes a fighting attitude to deal with all this. This disease can absolutely take over your life if you let it."
Having secretly had the disease for near a decade and a half, why come out with it now?
"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. It's part of me, but it's not who I am," she told the magazine.
She's also doing it for her 2-year-old son, Beau.
"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 adds. "I wanted to be an example to him of strength and courage."
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