Wendy Williams is crediting Dr. Mehmet Oz with helping save her life following her health scare last month.
“Thank you,” Williams, 53, said to the Dr. Oz Show host as she held back tears on Monday, when she returned to her self-titled daytime talk show after a three-week break. “So Dr. Oz, I had to take three weeks off of work, which was horrible, but needed.” (Jerry O’Connell guest-hosted.)
In February, she announced that she would be taking time off from to focus on her hyperthyroidism and Graves’ disease, an autoimmune disease that affects the thyroid. She was diagnosed with both 19 years ago.
“All 19 years Dr. Oz, everything’s been under control. I drank the radioactive iodine, which was supposed to have taken out the actual thyroid function, I’d replace it every day with a pill. A pill a day for 19 years. Everything was fine, until it wasn’t,” she said.
“You saved your life,” Dr. Oz, 57, told her and noted that a “thyroid issue is a tip of the iceberg.”
Dr. Oz said that as a result of her vegan diet and other things that she was doing to make herself feel better, her “vitamin D levels, which are generally low — especially in African American women, but half the country has low vitamin D levels by this time of year because for six months of the year, we haven’t been able to sit out in the sun and get sun rays — so vitamin D deficiency causes big time mood problems. Yours is the lowest I’ve ever seen.”
Following her weeks-long break, Dr. Oz said that her “numbers, thankfully, right now are back to normal.”
He also encouraged viewers to examine their own health after hearing Williams’ story and get checked by a doctor.
“It is imperative, people take away from this message … they should realize that they’re like you in a lot of ways. And they may be having the exact same issues and they can’t just write it off or think they can fix it themselves all the time. If there’s a major shift in the way you feel about your life, don’t blame everybody else but you. Get checked,” he said.
“Dr. Oz, thank you for helping save my life,” Williams said. “What I learned is that a lot of women, once we hit the menopausal age, we only have one doctor, we call her our primary, and that usually is the GYN. We need an internist.”
WATCH: Wendy Williams Opens Up About Battling Graves’
Also on Monday, Williams appeared on Good Morning America, when she revealed, “I don’t take sick days.”
“In the entire, almost 10 years of doing the show, I’ve never taken a sick day. rally, Amy, it was a perfect storm. A perfect storm that had been brewing. I have to say, internally knowing my body since late July,” she shared. “I had missed three doctors appointments with my endocrinologist — he’s the one who handles the thyroid and the Graves.”
Though she said she “cried. And then I laughed” after being instructed by her doctor to take time off, Williams admitted that it “was the best prescription ever because I met a great team.”
“They gave me a full workup. I found out that I was very deficient in vitamin D,” she said. “My internist told me I am, if not the worst, case of deficient vitamin D that she’s ever seen in her career. I had vertigo, which I’ve had all my life, and that was affecting my equilibrium. it was just a mess going on inside of my body. But I’m saved.”
“We as women, particularly if we have families — we’re taking care of children, we’re taking care of home, our husbands — we’re taking care of everybody but ourselves,” she said. “I’m not doing that anymore.”
As she tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue, on stands Friday, ““I love doing the show, but I love me more. So I’m going to take care of me, so I can be there for them.”
The Wendy Williams Show airs weekdays (check local listings).