Transcript for Meredith Vieira, Richard Cohen on battle with MS
Since the day I met Meredith Vieira on this show, believe it, 21 years ago, and I have loved her for her brains, her heart and her filthy mouth, trust me. Her husband, journalist and best-selling author, Richard Cohen who has been living with multiple sclerosis for over 40 years has written an inspiring new book called "Chasing hope: A patient's deep dive into stem cells, faith and the future." Please welcome back Meredith Vieira and Richard Cohen. Hello. So before we get to the book, I have to ask you about that dog you used to have, jajasper. Your husband wrote a book where he explained how much he couldn't stand the dog. Is he still alive? Of course, he is alive, and he is 14 going on 15. He has just had his annual checkup, and the vet called me and said his blood results are those of a 6-year-old dog. Hello. Oh, my god. He is, like, Donald Trump. If he could just outlive this one. That's all he cares about. I wanted to kill the dog, and the dog is going to outlive me. Have you warmed up to the dog? Not at all. You still don't like that dog. He loves you. He is very protective. He is a good dog. I would love to talk about this book because it's so beautifully written, Richard. Thank you. It's beautifully written, and it's called "Chasing hope," and you admit hope is not a term you have been familiar with over the last 40 years battling Ms. Instead, it had been, quote, diagnose and adios. What does that mean? Right. Well, that was a very popular phrase because when you have got a diagnosis like that, there was nothing they could do, you know? And there was no hope, and it was sort of like, you got it. So long. Have a good life, you know? And it wasn't for many years that I got any hope. Mostly from stem cells. Wow. Meredith, you have been with Richard for a long time. Not too long, but a long time. But I know you learned early on, Richard shared with you that he had Ms and he said that you, quote, never flinched. No, you know, he told me on our second date, and he did it because he wanted to give me the opportunity to leave if I was uncomfortable with this because with Ms, you just don't know the future and he would have that experience with other people when he found out that was it, and I think he wanted to get this out of the way. I still thought he was a little jerky, but -- That's appreciated though. I heard it was the hottest thing going. You couldn't keep your hands off each other. Is that true? No. Oh, that's great. See? That's how they act. We share a lot of similar interests is we were both into hiking and getting outside, and our politics were pretty similar. You're a little bit more to the left than I am, but yeah. So we had a lot that we shared. Yeah. And Richard, you wrote so honestly about how illness is a family affair. My mom has par kinsons, so we have dealt with that how it spills over, but you said something that stuck with me. You sid, to this day, I look at my grown children and wonder how they survived me. Can you tell us about that? When there is illness in the family, especially one of the parents, it has a tremendous impact on the kids, you know? And even when you try and be open and honest with them as we were, you know, the kids are the smartest ones in the house. They, without realizing it I think, sort of step in, you know. And they are, you know, watch out for us. Teaches them empathy. It's good. Absolutely. It's that double edge, and on one hand, you don't want illness in your family, but on the other hand, it can bring you together. It's separate you or bring you together, and it has made our kids stronger and far more empathetic than they would have been otherwise. All this time giving you on conventional therapy, you got hope again while visiting the Vatican. Stem cells. The doctors, the researchers, the advocates, the plant misses that go. They are not mainstream at all, and we're reading our local papers and we're hearing the mainstream approach to illness and treatment, and we met people there who were so far beyond that. For us, that brought us great hope. That's great. So Meredith, you went back to the Vatican. And we met the pope. Which was the most amazing thing. Did you take a picture with him? I was just overwhelmed by the moment. He is charming. People left that room crying. What a nice thing for you. It was wonderful. You talked about -- you really wanted to be apart of the stem cell trial. Right. And you said it was more than just your own health. You were also thinking about your kids. Have you seen any results from the stem cell therapy? My results were a little less dramatic. Probably because -- than other people. Probably because one month after the first infusion, I had a life-threatening blood clot in my lung. He almost died. Really almost died. That was not connected to the Ms. No. But I also was diagnosed at the same time with another autoimmune disease and the doctor thinks that the assault on my body from those illnesses probably undid some of the potential good. I see. But, you know, they -- there are people in that trial who got up out of wheelchairs. Wow. Really? It's really been stunning and the fda approved a phase two trial that's going to start fairly soon, and the doctor agreed to treatment me on it. Oh, that's great. That's wonderful. Truly great to see you two. You're still the same. Same old, same old. Good to see you really. Thanks to our pal Meredith Vieira, and Richard Cohen. Richard's new book, "Chasing hope" is out now, and members of
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