Tennis superstar Venus Williams made the brave decision to go public in 2011 about her auto-immune disease Sjogren’s Syndrome, but hasn’t been as vocal about it since then.
Well, Williams stopped by “Dr. Oz” and explained to the physician why doctors took so long to even realize what was making her sick.
“The reason it stayed such a mystery is because the symptoms are so ambiguous that no one can really diagnose it,” said Williams. “At one point, I just ended up getting sicker. And that’s what happens to a lot of people. The average diagnosis time is about seven years. And that’s what happened to me. It took seven years.”
Back in 2004, Williams began to notice a change in her health and that she struggled to get in shape. She mistakenly thought this was due to laziness. She says that she went to get tests done every six months, but nothing would show up.
“As an athlete, you don’t make excuses. Either you do it or you don’t,” said Williams about failing to rise to the occasion on the court. “So in my head, I just thought, ‘Oh, maybe I’m just kind of lazy, you know’ That’s would I would think.”
These days, the champion is back on her A game and doing a lot better. Williams has become a raw vegan and eliminated sugars since being diagnosed.
Despite her recent health setbacks, she’s planning to compete in the 2016 summer Olympics in Rio.