I have been so interested in the responses to An Open Letter to Jack Osbourne from People with MS and An Open Letter to Ann Romney from People with MS that I decided to send my love and admiration to one of my favorite people, Montel Williams.
Again, I urge you to share your thoughts and feelings with Montel, as a fellow person with MS, as someone who has always admired him and agreed with him - or not. Write your letter to Montel in the comments section below.
I'll go first:
I have admired you for many years. I'll admit that I never got the chance to watch The Montel Williams Show and daytime television really isn't my thing, so you were not huge on my radar screen until we had multiple sclerosis in common.
When I was first diagnosed with MS in 2003, it was hard to find things to read that "spoke" to how I felt. When I read Climbing Higher, I felt empowered, not because I agreed or identified with every emotion that you had or every approach that you tried to feel better from your MS, but because you put it all out there. You said it like it is. Multiple sclerosis is painful. Multiple sclerosis is awful. Multiple sclerosis does suck.
By saying this in your book and on television, you showed that it was okay to show emotion, and that by letting out the anger and sadness, it paved the way for being able to continue living. So many of the other things that I had read were either falsely upbeat or dry and devoid of all real feeling. I couldn't believe any of them. But, I believed you. And because I believed you, I felt that I would be okay. Different than I thought my life would be, but okay.
You also gave me the power to speak about MS in a way that helps me and I hope helps others - honestly and openly. Some things that I try work and others don't. Some days are good and some days are crappy.
Lastly, I want to say that I admire your stand for medical marijuana. It's not for me - my main issues have been fatigue and cognitive dysfunction, neither of which is an indication for marijuana (clearly). But, I like to know that it is there for people who need it. You have done much to remove the stigma of marijuana and even people who view it as "evil" have had a hard time arguing with your firm conviction (and demonstration) that it is a medicine that works.
In closing, I want to thank you for adding to my confidence around living with MS and setting the example that it is okay to tell the truth, even if it isn't always rosy.
Take care of yourself, my friend.
PS I waited outside of a poker tournament where you were playing in Las Vegas one time so that I could shake your hand, but eventually my fatigue caught up with me and I got too tired to stay until the end, so went to bed without seeing you... Sorry I missed it.