He's been living his life in the public eye since 1991 as the host of his own talk show, but privately, Montel Williams has been battling multiple sclerosis. Dr. Oz talks with Montel about his fight with the disease and the proactive approach he is taking to live his life to the fullest.
In 1998, Montel says he suffered a near-death experience while in the hospital with a massive nose bleed caused by a congenital birth defect. His heart stopped beating and he says doctors had to bring him back to life. The experience was jarring, but Montel says his health problems were just beginning. The following year, he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, an often devastating disease that affects the central nervous system. "When it first happened it was the most traumatic thing in my life, because I thought, 'Geez, I just survived dying…now I am going to die,'" he says.
As a father of four, a decorated naval officer and award-winning host of The Montel Williams Show, Montel says he decided to continue working and to live the best quality of life possible with the disease. "I'm going to keep working with MS because I have it and it doesn't have me and I am going to make sure it doesn't have me," he says.
While many doctors tell him that his diagnosis is grave, Montel says he is coping with pain caused by the disease through medicinal marijuana. He says he is managing many of the symptoms through medication and an extremely healthy diet of raw vegetables with few processed and cooked foods. "I could have sat back and listened to that doctor and be in a wheelchair right now…I'm not," he says.
Montel's new book Living Well: 21 Days to Transform Your Life, Supercharge Your Health, and Feel Spectacular, shares some of his approaches to the diet and exercise that he says is saving his life. He says the book embraces his motto, "I will be the only person who owns the definition of who I am, period." It's a motto that he says he lives by and will continue to live by.