Jack Osbourne, Star of "You Don't Know Jack About MS," Opens Up About His MS Journey
December 2nd, 2018
Jack Osbourne had just become a father. His daughter, Pearl, was three weeks old. Suddenly, he started losing his vision.
"I developed optic neuritis. I didn’t know what it was at the time, but I went to the eye doctor. I think the eye doctor knew what it was, but he wasn’t a neurologist so he couldn’t tell me. He sent me to the hospital to have an MRI. There were spinal taps, blood tests, and all that. Then I got the news: ‘You’ve got MS.’"
Prior to his diagnosis, Jack’s life had been pretty carefree when it came to his health and wellness. He was 26 at the time, 9 years sober, and his career as a television personality was taking off.
An MS diagnosis is difficult to process. Jack, a proud father ready to start this new chapter in his life, was having trouble wrapping his head around what had just landed on his shoulders. He reached out to his support partners for advice.
"One of my best friends was one of the first people I called.
I said, ‘Dude, I can’t see, I can’t do all these things, I don’t know what’s going to happen.’
And he just looked at me and said, ‘Deal with it. Don’t let it win. You can find a way to make this work with you.’
That was the kind of advice I needed."
Jack’s support group knew that he wouldn’t respond well to a gentle hand. He acknowledges that he subscribes more to the “tough love” style of affectionate concern.
“I called my other friend the day I got out of the hospital, when I was still in shell shock. I called him and said, ‘John, I’m in a bad way. I’ve got MS.’
He looked at me and said, ‘So?’
I remember saying, ‘Really?’
He asked, ‘Can you breathe?’
I said, ‘Yeah…’
‘Are you still sober?’
‘Have you lost anything?’
‘Then you’re good today.’”
Jack adapted. Partnering with Teva Neuroscience, Jack create the web seriesYDKJ). The webisodes provide insight and resources for those who are newly diagnosed or currently living with forms of multiple sclerosis. YDJK also highlights how Jack manages his health and wellness while living with MS.
“I’m doing a campaign that I could have utilized when I needed it the most. It doesn’t matter what my job is. If I was a carpenter in Kentucky, I still would have needed the same information. I wanted to make a campaign that I could have utilized and benefited from.”
Some webisodes focus on common misconceptions people have about MS, others discuss nutrition and exercise, but all show that while RRMS is a part of Jack’s life, it’s not controlling it.
One webisode that epitomizes this theme is “Movement and Substance” – the second webisode of the series. During this webisode, Jack discusses how, before his MS, he loved doing high-impact exercises. A fan of rock climbing and weight lifting, Jack never considered something like yoga as exercise.
Going to yoga with his family helped him look at exercise in a different way. He’s since learned to incorporate this experience into a whole new worldview.
“Whether it’s a work-related issue, travel, exercise, or doing an endurance event, I have to say ‘Okay, I want to do this. Here’s why I think it’s good. Is this going to affect my MS? If it does, can I still accomplish it? If so, how?’
I always ask myself these questions in the evaluation process.”
The episode also shows how Jack has reevaluated his diet. While registered dietitians agree that there is no one-size-fits-all food plan for individuals living with MS, adopting healthy food and lifestyle habits are linked to improving a person's quality of life. Jack discusses how he found his own meal plan, based on what food makes him feel good (and what doesn’t).
YDKJ is currently developing its next season and will feature a webisode that nearly all those living with MS can relate to: avoiding the doctor.
“I have a really bad tendency of ‘head-in-the-sand’ when it comes to going to my doctor’s appointments… I haven’t had an MRI in a few years, so we’re going to do an episode about making sure you’re going to your doctor’s appointments every six months!”
Now a father of three, Jack is proud to have helped educate others and raise MS awareness. He’s worked with his neurologist and other healthcare experts to develop a treatment plan that works for him. Rather than dwelling on the future, Jack focuses on the present.
“I can right now, so I’m going to... A body in motion will stay in motion.”
Viewers can find all webisodes of Can Do MS podcast! This podcast is available to download or stream online and your favorite podcast app.online. To listen to the full interview with Jack, along with his personal stories and experiences, check out the
Photos courtesy of James Branaman.