All through a lot of the ’00s, actor Jamie-Lynn Sigler starred as Meadow, the firstborn and troubled youngster of Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini), within the hit HBO sequence, The Sopranos. On the peak of her appearing profession, in the midst of the present’s run, she was recognized with A number of Sclerosis (MS). Initially, the star saved her analysis a secret and went on to battle the neurological illness privately for about 15 years. She publicly revealed that she has MS in 2016 and has been a vocal advocate for folks like her ever since. In discussing her experiences, Sigler has additionally shared the primary signal she seen that one thing was flawed, main her to see a physician and finally study of her situation. To listen to extra concerning the 40-year-old actor’s historical past of MS and the way she manages it at the moment, learn on.
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In 2002, when she was 20, Sigler got here house after filming an episode of The Sopranos and went to take a bathe. As she was stepping in, she felt a wierd, heavy sensation in her leg.
“It was that feeling proper earlier than you get pins and needles, that bizarre tingling, like your legs are asleep,” she advised WebMD in 2016. Sigler skilled an identical feeling when she had Lyme illness in 2001. “I did not know if this was a relapse or what it was,” she continued.
After an evening within the hospital, Singler was advised by a physician that she has MS, a illness of the central nervous system that disrupts communication between the mind and the remainder of the physique.
In keeping with the Nationwide MS Society, numbness, or the sensation of your limb being “asleep,” is a typical symptom of MS. Different generally noticed signs embrace fatigue, imaginative and prescient issues, and issue strolling.
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Instantly after her analysis, Sigler didn’t expertise signs. Whereas chatting with Glamour in 2016, the actor admitted that she “was in denial” concerning the illness. “I did not take my treatment. I did not wish to stay a life fascinated with MS as a result of I wasn’t symptomatic,” she defined.
In 2005, amid her divorce from her husband of two years, actor AJ Discala, Sigler started to really feel new results of her MS. To WebMD, she famous that she was having steadiness and bladder issues, together with feeling weak on her proper aspect. As managing these signs grew to become harder, Sigler reached out to a medical skilled within the leisure trade for assist.
“He advised me, ‘I’ll faux you by no means advised me you will have MS, and you might be by no means going to inform anybody at work. You’re going to get fired. Nobody will rent you. Individuals will choose you. Maintain it between us,'” she advised WebMD.
She took that excessive recommendation and hid her MS at work by blaming her ache on a nasty again and her Lyme illness. Her Sopranos co-star Edie Falco even visited Sigler within the hospital with out figuring out that MS was the explanation for her being there. “After I discovered that she had MS, it broke my coronary heart,” Falco recalled to WebMD. “Simply figuring out how troublesome it will need to have been to undergo that.”
Sigler saved her analysis personal exterior of labor, as nicely. She famous to WebMD that she “by no means concerned anyone in [her] life with [her] illness,” which took a psychological toll on her.
“I grew to become extremely depressed,” she defined. “I used to be again to dwelling alone and confused and scared about life normally, not simply the MS.”
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After The Sopranos ended, Sigler continued appearing in TV and flicks. She nonetheless feared that folks discovering out that she was dwelling with MS would result in her being handled in a different way, nonetheless. At one level, she thought-about quitting appearing altogether.
“I assumed that work would not come anymore,” she advised Glamour. “I assumed that folks would see me as sick and never see me as me.”
Working with a therapist helped Sigler to understand that she wanted to ask her family and friends for assist and that conserving her sickness a secret was solely hurting her. She publicly revealed her MS analysis for the primary time in a January 2016 interview with Individuals journal. She and baseball participant Cutter Dykstra received married that very same month, and Sigler later advised WebMD she had needed to make the announcement “round a time of celebration.” The couple now have two sons: Beau Kyle Dykstra, 8, and Jack Adam Dykstra, 3.
Along with her medical situation lastly out within the open, Sigler felt relieved. “I really feel bodily higher as a result of I haven’t got this stress and this concern that adopted me round in all places,” she advised WebMD.
Chatting with Glamour, Sigler defined that she has relapse-remitting MS (RRMS). In keeping with the Nationwide MS Society, RRMS is characterised by “an assault of latest or rising neurologic signs,” often known as relapses, “adopted by durations of full or partial restoration.” She advised WebMD that she’s tried “each different remedy” attainable over time, together with several types of diets and invasive therapies. Now, when treating her signs, Sigler takes the treatment Tecfidera twice a day.
Sigler’s MS causes her ache, which is worse on some days than others. “I am going to have moments the place my sciatica [pain that runs along the legs or back] will get actually unhealthy on the finish of the day or I am just a little additional stiff at the moment or whatnot, however I can say that I’ve discovered to kind of be uncomfortable,” she defined to Glamour.
The actor additionally has bodily limitations due to the illness. She famous to the journal that probably the most troublesome problem for her is working, which she hasn’t been capable of do for over 10 years. Each time she tries to run, Sigler defined, her signs worsen.
“I begin to stiffen up,” she mentioned. “My mind cannot work rapidly sufficient with my legs. I’ve a weak spot in my proper aspect, so steadiness, coordination.”
Though dwelling with the illness has been troublesome, Sigler advised Individuals in 2020 that she’s realized all “the constructive issues it is delivered to [her]” and “who it has made [her] at the moment.”
“Do I nonetheless want I did not have MS? Certain,” she mentioned. “But it surely’s like my factor on this lifetime, perhaps. And I’m coping with it the most effective I can. I am nonetheless impartial.”
Even though MS might sluggish her down bodily, she has come to phrases with the illness and embraces the fact of it in her personal method.
“However I’ve found out within the 18 years dwelling with it how greatest to operate and I do not really feel like I am lacking out on something in life due to it,” she added.
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