Former “Sopranos” star Jamie-Lynn Sigler, who was raised in Jericho, said Wednesday that she has suffered from multiple sclerosis for a decade-and-a-half.
“I wasn’t ready until now” to reveal her illness, first diagnosed at age 20, the 34-year-old Sigler told People magazine. “You’d think that after all these years, somebody would be settled with something like this, but it’s still hard to accept.”
Sigler — who recently married Manhasset-born baseball player Cutter K. Dykstra, son of former Mets star Lenny Dykstra — said she had been without symptoms “for quite some time” but that her MS became acute within the last 10 years.
“I can’t walk for a long period of time without resting,” she told the magazine. “I cannot run. No superhero roles for me,” the actress, who gave birth to her and Dykstra’s son Beau in August 2013, added with a laugh. “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.”
While working on HBO’s acclaimed 1999 to 2007 suburban-mobster series “The Sopranos,” on which she played Meadow, daughter of crime boss Tony Soprano, “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 said. She went on to a recurring role on the series “Entourage” and to star in NBC’s “Guys with Kids.”
MS is an autoimmune disease of the central nervous system that is treatable but incurable. Its many symptoms can include loss of balance, muscle spasms and tremors, vision loss, numbness and excessive fatigue. Approximately 400,000 Americans suffer from the disease, the precise cause of which is unknown. But with medication and treatment, say doctors, many patients can lead regular lives.
Sigler’s medications includes injections, infusions and the pill Tecfidera, which she must take twice daily. The regimen has kept her symptoms stable over the last six years, she said. “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.”