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More Montel...

Must have a book coming out soon.

Why did he choose to let it all out? "Because we [MS sufferers] need to stop lying about ourselves. We lie about the pain we're in. A lot of the reason my relationship with my wife, Grace, came apart was because I tried my best to pretend I wasn't in pain. I didn't want to say I needed help.

"I also knew that before anyone writes about this, about me and my disease, I better do it myself. It also gives me the opportunity to get the message out there - it's not a shame to be ill. It's not a disgrace. No one in my family had anything like this, anything neurological before, and yet my daughter has epilepsy, also neurological. We need to stop lying-no matter what the cost."

And the cost can be high for a star with a disease - especially a potentially debilitating one. "But even to say this, to admit [how seriously ill] I am, puts me and my career in jeopardy," he said.

"Talk-show host, fine - the [company] has accepted me [with my disease], but other projects? 'Uh, uh. He's got MS, get someone else.' " It is Hollywood, after all.

"I have extreme neuralgia. If I'm standing outside and someone brushes up against me - how do I describe it?-it's like when you strike your crazy [funny] bone. Take that feeling and times it by 100. Wherever you touch me.

"I used to want people only to see me at my best - now I don't. [When I'm in extreme pain], I tell my friends please, don't touch me. Please. Thank you. I can be sitting in the movies with someone I really like, and the popcorn bag brushes against me and I'm in torture. So I excuse myself and go to the bathroom - anything to not scream. The worst part, however, is what I do to myself sometimes. I can sit here for 14 hours straight and drive myself crazy waiting for it to come on."

More here.

January 3, 2004 in pain, people | Permalink