Actress, Jamie-Lynn Segler who played Meadow in the hit series The Sopranos has gone public with her multiple sclerosis diagnosis to People magazine.

The 34 year old actress says she was diagnosed at the age of 20 years old but that she wasn’t ready to tell people about her diagnosis and kept it largely hidden for the past 15 years because she was in “denial or not accepting that MS was going to be a part of my future.”

Jamie-Lynn says about the MS diagnosis, “it was a shock, it was surprising”. Diagnosed with Lymes disease a year before, Segler also says “it was confusing, and also strange, because I didn’t feel sick, I didn’t feel like anything was really wrong.” 

Symptoms of the degenerative disease which affects the central nervous system only began appearing 10 years ago. 

“I can’t walk for a long period of time without resting,” she said. “I cannot run. No superhero roles for me. “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.”

With Segler’s admission is a message of strength and hope for other people:

It’s part of who I am, its not who I am, I want to change peoples ideas of what this disease means to them and possibly give people hope that its not the end. Segler also hopes for “better days ahead” when a cure is found for MS from more attention being given to find a cure for the disease. 

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The Sopranos ran for 6 series between 1999 -2007 and Segler co-starred with James Gandolfini who played the head of the family, Tony Soprano.