Taking Responsibility for Living WellJuly 2009
By Donna Caruso
The American Medical System
As we’ve seen, Williams has been intensely involved in our medical system for the past decade and certainly has some strong views on the subject. His experiences with physicians, from his time in the military to his MS diagnosis 10 years ago, have been very disappointing. But after a determined search for the best possible medical care (which he can fortunately afford), Williams now feels that the partnership with his team of health professionals is helping him successfully contend with MS.
“I have always believed in my ability to find my own answers,” Williams tells us. “One of the basic things in my life, a drive I’ve had since I was seven years old, has been my belief that I own the definition of who I am. No one else will define me. I will define me.” So when that first doctor tried to paint a dismal picture of his future with MS, Williams said his response was “How dare he try to define who I am?
“We had better understand that we are responsible for our own medical care,” he continues, “Because as much as we love to put it in their hands and relegate and delegate our authority to doctors, we have to take authority and assume it and turn around and direct them.”
Williams has frequently encountered doctors who were not receptive to his program of supplements, hormone replacement, and diet. “Those who aren’t receptive don’t need to get my money,” he proclaims, adding that, “Whether we like it or not, medical care in our society is a capitalistically driven mechanism,” meaning all of us may have to go through a long list of doctors in order to find the right one for our needs. “Because,” says Williams, “If I don’t believe in my doctor and my doctor doesn’t believe in me, there’s no way he or she could possibly treat me.”
Williams anticipates serious changes in health care delivery in the near future, especially with assuming greater control over the system. But he also feels positive about the greater interest among health professionals in a more holistic approach. “They’re doing it,” he remarks, “Because they’re starting to see the results.”
Even so, progress can seem painfully slow at times. Williams mentions MS patients who were diagnosed at the same time he was who, when he sees them, are not doing well. “I see how they’re doing,” he says, “And I see how I’m doing and I’m glad I’m on this regimen.”
But don’t they want to know what he’s doing? Don’t they want to do it, too? “All of them say, ‘My doctor told me I shouldn’t.’ So what can I say? Some people are afraid. When a doctor tells you, ‘That’s just snake oil,’ what are you supposed to think?”
And what about the doctors, how do they respond? “The impression I get from the doctors who see me is ‘I don’t necessarily know if I would recommend this for my patients, but I look at you and I can’t tell you to stop.’”
Following his MS diagnosis, Williams created the Montel Williams MS Foundation (montelms.org) to help keep the public up-to-date on findings, provide support and inspiration for those with MS, and raise money to find a cure.
Another project dear to his heart is the Partnership for Prescription Assistance (PPA) program, for which Williams has been a national spokesperson. Helping those in need obtain free medication with the assistance of participating drug companies, Williams is very proud of his contributions to this important cause, which has given away an estimated $10 billion in products.
When Williams’ long-running television talk show came to an end last year, he began work on many different projects, one of which is about to come to fruition. It’s a new kind of television he calls a “talkmercial.” “I’ve created a symbiotic merger between a talk show and an infomercial and it’s very exciting because it’s growing so quickly,” Williams explains. With his own distribution and syndication company, he hopes the one-hour show will be broadcast in prime time this spring. “We have an issue, a solution, and a product tied together,” he says, “So it means the advertising is integrated.” Williams is also a publisher, actor, film producer, and a powerful motivational speaker whose talents are widely in demand, especially in light of his achievements in his fight against MS, and his popular books about his life and discoveries regarding better health. It all goes back to his mantra of taking control of your life.
“No matter how you’re living right now, no matter what your individual situation,” says Williams, “You can take charge and flourish in times of adversity.” Montel Williams is the living proof of the truth of these words.
For more information on Montel Williams, check his website at www.montelwilliams.com