“I’ve been quite sick for the last 14 months,” said JD Scott, 43, the older brother of Property Brothers twins Jonathan and Drew Scott, 41, in a July 8 Instagram video. In the lengthy clip, J.D. revealed his battle with an unknown illness and how the symptoms – extreme heat sensitivity, a “crawling” on the skull, and more – got so intense that he thought he was “dying” at one point. While J.D. said that he’s on the mend, he reveals EXCLUSIVELY to HollywoodLife that the whole experience has changed his fundamental outlook on life.
While speaking with HollywoodLife, JD also goes into depth about the exact details of his painful symptoms, while also explaining what he’s specifically doing to aid his recovery process. He also reveals why it was vital that he and his fiancée, Annalee Belle, went public with this struggle before the July 11 airing of Property Brothers: Forever Home, where his brothers built his “forever home” in Las Vegas.
HollywoodLife: Tell me why you decided to open up about your health battle now?
JD Scott: I had been thinking about it for a while. My fiancée and I decided that it would be a good time to do it before the episode of Forever Home was airing this week just to let our fan base know and why it was an extra special thing for us to be going through. It was extra emotional for us.
How hard was that to know you were going to be doing this? You kept it so close to the vest and said you’ve been sick for over a year now, so how hard has that been?
The sickness was difficult to live through it. I had never dealt with a lot of these things that were suddenly thrust upon me and trying to figure out and what was wrong at the time and suffering from these debilitating symptoms was very difficult. All through that, I was maintaining this heir of ‘Everything was fine’ from outward appearances because business has to go on as usual. I hadn’t told fans anything. It had gone on so long, it was time to tell people.
What exactly happened, and when was it that you knew something was wrong? What were your symptoms?
June of last year. I had just gotten back from [Drew’s] wedding, and I had some difficulties there with heat and getting tired with it. It was something that you could almost kind of shrug off. It didn’t seem as important at the time. When I got back to Vegas, Annalee had to go out of town, and I had this one night where suddenly, I felt like I was having a heart attack to start with and the sensitivity to heat a couple of days before that had gotten really, really bad. So, I ended up going to the hospital because I thought my heart was having issues. It turned out my heart was fine, but those were symptoms of the overall issue that was going on, and they then started the process of trying to figure out.
How scary that must’ve been for you to not know what was wrong with you! What other symptoms were you having?
It’s a laundry list of them. One is called brain fog — Very foggy, almost dizzy feeling all of the time. There’s a blanket over your brain. The heat sensitivity is the biggest one, anything over 69 or 70 degrees would put me into almost a comatose state for a couple of days. The heart stuff initially got pretty bad but that kind of went away, so I don’t know why I haven’t experienced that again. I couldn’t really do anything — Even walking for too far caused me extreme fatigue. It’s one of the reasons why I’ve been kind of trapped in my house or my office is because I can’t go anywhere without suffering these terrible symptoms.
So you suffer these all day every day, even right now?
I’m pretty good right now. The treatment I’ve been getting has been helping a lot. As long as I’m in a controlled environment, I’m OK. As long as the heat doesn’t go over a certain temperature or I’m not doing too much work during the day.
Have they actually given you a diagnosis?
I had been to all these specialists — Neurologists, Rheumatologists in the last year. Finally, I saw this functional doctor and I met him through the TV series that we do and he wanted to tackle it from a different perspective and he ran all these different tests on me and he actually found something that none of the others found. It was a pretty severe infection in my gut, my GI track and he also found that there was a lot of — I was missing certain things from my diet and I had other foods I was eating that I was extremely sensitive to.
He felt like the combination of these things were causing the overall symptoms that I was experiencing. He treated the infection first and he put me on this diet where I could basically only eat air! It was a very restrictive, elimination diet. I’ve gotten back a lot of the functionality that I hadn’t had in over a year.
Were they related and what was the cause of the infection?
Don’t know what the cause of the infection was. It could’ve been in my body for years and I wouldn’t know about it.
What’s your diet like now and have you lost a lot of weight because of it?
I’ve removed all gluten, dairy, sugar, and soy. I’m doing so well that I haven’t wanted to tinker with it yet.
Do they think you have some sort of food allergy or sensitivity that was causing all of this? Have they pinpointed if it was the infection or the food that was causing all of these symptoms?
Both. I was uncovering that I have a lot of high-level sensitivities to a lot of particular foods. One food is gluten, which I didn’t know that before, and it was causing my body to become very inflammatory.
How has your life changed? Especially after thinking you are truly dying, I’d think you have a completely different outlook on life now?
Yeah, it really puts things into perspective. You think you’re dying, especially numerous times over the course of a year. To get to the point where you finally feel like you’re getting better is a new lease on life. Now I kind of have this new outlook.