I received so many messages yesterday regarding what aired on Real Housewives with one of Yolanda Foster's co-stars questioning "how sick" she is and if Lyme Disease is real and went as far as to say that "it seems strange that she's like "happy selfie, sick selfie, happy selfie, sick selfie..." (in regards to her Instagram feed). I was told by people that they couldn't believe that this happened & surely this is an exaggeration made for reality TV. Maybe it was but what bothers me is that this is a part of the battle for those fighting Lyme Disease: the questions regarding this disease & the questions on the length of time to get better.
As some of you know & are aware I saw more than 273 doctors before I was correctly & accurately diagnosed with Advanced Late Stage Lyme Disease. I have had numerous doctors (including some of the "top specialists" in the country) tell me that Lyme Disease "doesn't exist". And after I received a correct diagnosis the journey didn't end... it had just begun.
I have had Instagram & blog followers question my decision to share "happy times" along with the struggle of fighting a serious & deadly illness. I have had people who I thought were my closest and best friends walk away because the journey was "too long". I have had people say insensitive and rude comments including: "Well at least its not Cancer" (which I am also fighting), and "I wish that I could stay in bed all day and didn't have to work", and "Wow... you have gained a lot of weight for someone who is supposedly so sick" (thank you certain medications!) and "You aren't better yet? Are you sure you have the right diagnosis?" and "what is the disease that you are fighting again? Lame Disease?".
Here is the thing: Lyme patients are fighting for their health, their lives, and for their future. The road to healing is a long and winding journey that takes everything you have to get better (physically, emotionally, financially, etc) and everyday is different and a battle. This doesn't change the fact that Lyme Disease is real, but instead makes me pray for a world that will stop with the judgments & spend that energy to find a cure.
Questioning a disease because you don't understand it doesn't fix or help anyone, it just spreads ignorance. Questioning a disease because your medical training doesn't know how to treat it doesn't help a patient, it simply means we need better training. Questioning a disease because we don't have a cure doesn't make it go away, it just prolongs the suffering of those who are fighting it.
I want to say a special "thank you" to Bravo TV for airing this part of your episode. While I personally have never watched RHOBH before your willingness to share this might have been only for good TV, but you have shed light on a bigger issue in the United States. I hope that this brings about a greater discussion for not only patients, but for the medical community at large. Yolanda, thank you for sharing your story with all of us & being a voice for so many. To those co-stars who support Yolanda Foster you are a welcome blessing for each Lyme Warrior. And to those who choose to spend time questioning I urge you to use your energy & influence to change the course of history by helping us find a cure.
"In the fullness of time, the mainstream handling of Chronic Lyme Disease will be viewed as one of the most shameful episodes in the history of medicine because elements of academic medicine, elements of government and virtually the entire insurance industry have colluded to deny a disease."
-Dr. Kenneth Liegner-
Lyme Warriors- you are heard, you are not alone, and we will never give up.