Montel says 70 percent of people with MS have the inability to process high temperatures. For him, it's 85 degrees and above. "It's like if your computer gets hot and it starts shorting down," he says. "My brain starts shorting down, and I literally start losing the ability to move."
In his book Living Well Emotionally , Montel writes about a trip to Nevada that almost had a tragic ending. After being exposed to extreme heat, Montel says he experienced what some call a "chest hug"—a freezing of the diaphragm. "I thought I was having a heart attack," he says. "For the next five minutes, I don't know whether or not I need to call 911 or if this was that chest hug thing. That was the worst I'd ever felt it."
Thankfully, Montel's wife, Tara, was there to support him. "One of the things that's so magical about this journey that I've been on is the fact that I have somebody who's taken this journey one million percent with me…and that's Tara," he says. "She knows when I'm hurting this way. She has the ability to get her arm under mine and make me look like I'm holding her. Drag me to another place."