LOS ANGELES — Actress Jamie-Lynn Sigler says she’s “overwhelmed” by the reaction to her revelation in the current issue of People magazine that she has multiple sclerosis.
“I don’t feel so alone,” she tweeted Wednesday, thanking fans for their support.
Sigler, 34, told People that she was diagnosed with the debilitating disease when she was 20 but didn’t want to reveal that she had it until now.
“I wasn’t ready until now,” People quoted her as saying. “You’d think that after all these years, somebody would be settled with something like this, but it’s still hard to accept.”
Sigler said she decided to let her fans in on her struggle now, just days after marrying Cutter Dykstra, with whom she has a 2-year-old son.
“I’m at a point in my life with my son, with my new marriage, it’s a new me,” she told People. “I don’t want to hold a secret where it feels like I have something to be ashamed of or have something to hide.”
Sigler, best known for her role as Meadow Soprano on the 1999-2007 HBO series “The Sopranos,” said the initial diagnosis came as something of a shock. She says she didn’t feel sick at the time.
She has since struggled with symptoms of MS, a disease of the central nervous system that can cause vision problems, issues with balance and coordination, fatigue, tremors and memory issues, among others.
“I can’t walk for a long period of time without resting. I cannot run. No superhero roles for me,” People quoted her as saying.
She also said stairs can be a problem for her.
“I can do them but they’re not the easiest,” she said. “When I walk, I have to think about every single step, which is annoying and frustrating.”
She said medication has helped hold the symptoms at bay for the past six years.
Sigler said she hopesthat speaking out will help advance research on the disease and a cure.
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