Although actress Jamie Lynn Sigler, 34, has been battling Multiple Sclerosis for 15 years, the former “Sopranos” star told People Magazine she wasn’t ready to open up about her illness until now, and admitted that while she had been symptom-free “for quite some time,” the disease, reared its ugly head” over the last decade.
“I can’t walk for a long period of time without resting. I cannot run. No superhero roles for me,” she stated laughing. “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.”
Multiple sclerosis is the most common autoimmune disorder affecting the central nervous system in which the insulating covers of nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord are damaged, disrupting communication between parts of the nervous system from “communicating.” Symptoms may include feelings of tingling, pins and needles or numbness, muscle weakness, very pronounced reflexes, muscle spasms, or difficulty in moving; difficulties with coordination and balance; as well as problems with speech or swallowing, as well as vision problems, fatigue, acute or chronic pain. Some patients also have bowel and bladder difficulties, among others. MS can also cause difficulties thinking and emotional problems such as depression or unstable mood, etc. These may occur in isolated attacks (relapsing forms) or building up over time (progressive forms).[Although symptoms may disappear completely between attacks; there is no cure. MS usually begins between the ages of 20 and 50 and is twice as common in women as in men.
Sigler noted she has “run the gamut” of available treatment with MS drugs including injections and infusions and now takes the twice-daily pill Tecfidera, which has kept her symptoms stable for the past 6-years.
“Things are manageable now,” she adds. “It takes a fighting attitude to deal with all this. This disease can absolutely take over your life if you let it.”
In the meantime, Jamie Lynn credits her new husband baseball player Cutter Dykstra (, the son of baseball player Lenny Dykstra) and their 2-year old son Beau Kyle Dykstra with “giving her courage and support in her daily battle.” Although Sigler and Dykstra became engaged on January 28, 2013,[ hey were just married on January 16, 2016 in Palm Springs, California on January 16, 2016.
“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,” she told PEOPLE. “It’s part of me, but it’s not who I am.”