J.D. Scott is opening up about an illness that he has been grappling with for over a year — and doctors still aren’t 100 percent sure what it is.
The Property Brothers at Home star, 43, opened up on his Instagram account with fiancée Annalee Belle this week in a lengthy video where the couple shares the details about Scott’s health struggle over the past 14 months.
In the emotional clip, Scott — the older brother to Drew and Jonathan — and Belle recall being overwhelmed at first by his symptoms — extreme sensitivity to temperatures over 70 degrees, having to stay in bed for days and more — to the point where the home renovation pro thought he was on the edge of death.
After having multiple MRIs, Scott says, “What [doctors] thought it was, was an autoimmune disease,” like lupus. But “after months and months,” his two neurologists instead thought he “had two brain aneurysms.”
After a follow-up visit with a neurosurgeon, though, the couple learned it could actually be “a new pathway [that] had formed” in his brain — something not uncommon or necessarily life-threatening, according to the neurosurgeon.
The radiologist Scott met with next was “99.9 percent sure” he wasn’t suffering from an aneurysm, which made the HGTV star feel like he was “kind of back to square one” after about six months of tests.
“The MRIs were quick, but every appointment with a specialist took at least a month, if not several, to get in,” Belle shares of the grueling process.
Meanwhile, Scott was having trouble participating in activities he used to do with no issue. The Las Vegas-based couple recalls a trip they took to a casino for Belle’s 30th birthday in September that was “too much,” she says.
“Walking too much would bring on the symptoms. Heat would bring on the symptoms,” Scott shares. “So I was very limited in what I could do. But as long as I was within an area that I could control, I could actually do things.”
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Another symptom the Forever Home star describes was a “crawly feeling” in his head — something a neurologist pointed to, after more tests, as a potential side effect of a “pretty rare” condition called a nummular headache, which Scott took medicine to treat specifically.
“He said to me, ‘It is possible that you’re not suffering from one thing, that it’s a few things that are culminating into these symptoms,’ ” Scott says, explaining that the medications he took didn’t help with the heat sensitivity but did treat that particular feeling in his head.
Eventually, Scott visited Dr. Scott Jacobson, a functional physician looking at both western and holistic medicine.
Dr. Jacobson agreed it was likely many issues working together — and tests he ran found an infection that showed Scott’s body was reacting in the way it might to an autoimmune disease, with his antibodies “through the roof.”
After beginning antibiotics about a month ago, along with a diet that cut out wheat, dairy, soy, gluten and sugar, Scott says he started to feel somewhat better after less than a week.
But despite the good news about finding medicines and lifestyle changes that would help ease his symptoms, Scott can’t help but get emotional about the toll the journey has taken on him, admitting before fighting back tears, “I was pretty sure I was dying.”
It’s still a process and he is by no means “cured” (he even tells fans he has felt “like a bubble boy” over the past year), but “I felt at times, recently, like I did before this all started over a year ago,” Scott says, advising others to “try every avenue” if they have questions about their own health.
The couple — who got engaged in October — also say that there were “a lot of people in [their] life that kind of faded away,” perhaps because they weren’t sure how to approach the subject with them. And, as Belle puts it, many people acted like Scott was being “dramatic” with his symptoms.
“A lot of people just haven’t checked in and they know how bad it is. It’s felt kind of lonely,” says Belle, with Scott adding, “Not having the friends that you normally have is not fun.”
But they are thankful for the support they have received from “some really good people who have checked in a lot and helped out,” Scott says, and they continue to be positive about the future.
As he tells his fans, “I appreciate all of you. We’re getting there. Lots of good stuff to come.”