Art Alexakis, frontman for the rock band Everclear, has revealed he’s been living with multiple sclerosis.
In a note posted on the band’s official site, Alexakis said he was in a bad car accident three years ago that totaled his car.
“About two weeks later, I started feeling a tingle and numbness in my arm, thinking it was a pinched nerve in my neck, I went to the doctor and underwent an MRI,” he wrote. “The report showed that I did indeed have a pinched nerve, but the pathologist also saw lacerations and suspicious marks on my spinal cord as well…scary, to say the least.”
Alexakis said he “was sent to see a neurologist, who did a ridiculous number of tests - more MRI’s, a spinal tap, over fifty blood tests, and numerous cognitive and balance tests.”
“After receiving the results, he told me that I have a form of Multiple Sclerosis (RRMS), and that I have had it for anywhere between 10 to 20 years,” he said. “I went and sat in my car and called my wife, and cried for about half an hour. I’m sure people in the parking lot thought I was losing it, and I guess I kind of was.”
Multiple sclerosis affects the central nervous system and is considered an autoimmune disease, in which the immune system attacks its own healthy cells.
The rocker said the diagnosis made sense to him.
“The more I found out about MS, the more a lot of things started making sense,” he wrote in his note. “It explains why I have had balance and gait problems for the last ten years, it helps explain why I have had a higher sensitivity to heat and cold, and why I don’t have the energy, vigor, and razor sharp memory that I had ten years ago. I thought it was just me getting older.”
Alexakis said he now gives himself injections three times a week, which his neurologist told him should stave off progression of the disease for years.
He said he decided to share his diagnosis because of recent speculation.
“One of the reasons I wanted to be more public about my disease is that I have been hearing a lot of people say that I am drinking again or back on drugs because they have seen me look unsteady on stage or around town (people say all sorts of nasty things when they don’t think you can hear them),” Alexakis wrote. “To be honest, I have never cared about what people say about me personally - except, that is, for the people that I care about (ie..YOU) and what they think. I wanted you to know the truth, simple as that.”
He said his life since he’s been diagnosed has been full. He’s learned the meaning of the word gratitude, plans on writing a book and is set to start touring May 1 for his debut solo album, “Sun Songs.”
“So, if you see me stumbling…sweaty, looking both tired and anxious at the same time, maybe a little more confused than usual, or forgetting lyrics yet looking happy (which is weird for me), please know that I have not fallen off the wagon,” Alexakis said. “I am just learning how to be the new me.”
CNN’s Denise Powell contributed to this report