Former talk show host Montel Williams told People that he’s never going to take another day for granted after surviving a stroke in late May.
“I’m very lucky,” the former talk show host told People. “When it happened, I didn’t realize the veracity of what this was. When you start thinking about those statistics? That’s harsh reality … I’m so blessed to be alive.”
As previously reported by the Inquisitr, Williams was admitted to the hospital for what was reported as “overexerting himself while exercising.”
Behind the scenes, however, Williams was actually dealing with a rare type of stroke called a cerebellum hemorrhagic stroke that, according to the American Heart Association, only accounts for about 13 percent of all strokes.
Williams told People that while he was doing 65-pound squats in the gym, he heard a noise behind him. That noise turned out to be the sound of a bursting blood vessel in his brain.
“I threw the weight and said, ‘You just had a stroke,'” the 62-year-old Williams told People. “I said, ‘I’m not dying in this gym alone.'”
Williams made it back to his hotel room, where his wife Tara Fowler called an ambulance.
Williams is lucky to be alive today, an expert on strokes told People, since the type of stroke that he suffered kills — or causes neurological deficiencies — in about 50 percent of patients.
Williams stayed in the ICU of NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital for 21 days while doctors made absolutely sure that his brain had recovered.
“I could barely talk. I couldn’t sit up. I couldn’t stand. I was almost paralyzed, it was terrifying. But I remember telling myself,’ You’re not dying. You’re not quitting. You’re going to fight this. You’re going to get this back,'” he said.
Williams is continuing his recovery today, conducting rehab treatments and going on daily walks without help.
“I’m way ahead of the rehab game right now,” Williams explained. “My physical therapist, Paul Reilly, asked early on, ‘What do you want to get out of this?’ And I said, ‘I’d love to snowboard again this year.’ So we set that goal and we’re almost there. I really need another month before I’m beyond that acute phase of having a stroke. But I made it back. I got it back. And I probably will snowboard in January.”
Williams, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1999, now has a new perspective on life and is ready to slow down and relax with his wife of eleven years.
“This gave me a wake up call in a lot of ways,” he shared. “I used to be one of those overly intense people period. I was flying three flights a week, cross-country, back here, over there, up there, down there, over there. I was always on the phone, managing five businesses — it’s time to just slow down a little bit, you know?”