Having to take time off work due to an illness is not exactly a “vacation” like healthy people often assume — just ask Wendy Williams. The talk show host revealed on Wednesday’s show that she will be going on hiatus from her show due to hyperthyroidism and Graves’ disease.
Williams, who has been open about having hyperthyroidism before, said her thyroid has been “totally cattywompus.” Williams added that her “eye thing,” which viewers have noticed before, is due to the muscles behind her eyeballs being squeezed — a symptom of Graves’ disease. Graves’ disease is an autoimmune disease that leads to overactivity of the thyroid gland and, in some patients, eye disease.
She explained that she had been attributing not feeling well to being 53, going through menopause, and dealing with the stress of her son applying for colleges and going to prom. She also said symptoms of Graves’ disease include weight loss, anxiety and moist hands, which she hasn’t experienced, as well as irritability, trouble sleeping, trouble swallowing, rapid heartbeat and intolerance to heat, which she has experienced.
Williams said she had an appointment with her endocrinologist in December, but she had to cancel it for a business meeting, so it was rescheduled to yesterday. That’s when her doctor told her she needed to take three weeks off work, meaning the show would be airing old episodes until she got back.
“I kinda knew it,” Williams admitted. “I feel like there are birds swimming around my head, you know like a cartoon.”
When Williams told the studio audience her doctor had prescribed her “three weeks of vacation,” the audience applauded. But Williams didn’t agree with their enthusiasm.
“What? Who are you?” she said. “I was pissed. Encore performances, really?”
She then started cleaning her ears with a cotton swab, explaining her ears are “leaking” because of an old medication that needs to wear off before she can start a new medication, which is why she needs to take three weeks off. Like many with chronic illness who have been unable to work, she said she wanted to try to come back earlier and that she still needed the money.
“I’m going to fix that, I’ll be back in two [weeks],” Williams countered. “I’m not an heiress. Who’s going to pay my bills, are you serious? I’m just saying, I come from working class. Work work work, that’s all I do is work. But for the next few, I won’t be.”
She also encouraged women to take their health seriously and “get stuff checked out,” because women often put their families and business ahead of themselves.
“What I want to say to women more than men is stop putting everyone first,” she said, “because if we’re not good, they’re not good.”
Watch her entire statement here:
A message from Wendy. pic.twitter.com/tDzsW1s6kf
— Wendy Williams (@WendyWilliams) February 21, 2018
Williams has previously talked about wearing wigs due to thinning hair, which is caused by her thyroid disease. Last Halloween, she fainted on-air, which she attributed to overheating in her costume and not thyroid issues.
“I’m a 53-year-old, middle-aged woman going through what middle-aged women go through if you know what I mean,” she said. “The costume got hot. All the sudden right before passing out, I felt like I was in the middle of a campfire.”