Caravan Sonnet: A Response to that RHOBH Episode

12/17/15

A Response to that RHOBH Episode

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.

16 comments:

  1. People simply amaze me. I am so sorry for the things that have been said to you. I am so glad that you are continuing to share your journey to educate others.

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    1. Sheryl,

      Isn't it shocking things that can be said to other people? I admit that at the beginning of this journey this was definitely one of the things that shocked me the most! It has definitely been a wake up call to me to watch my own words to make sure that I am always trying to speak "life giving" words to others! Thank you so much for the encouragement as I continue to share my story and also for taking the time to comment on this post as I shared so much of my heart in it!! I hope that you have a wonderful Friday and a wonderful weekend!!

      Thank you so much again!
      Blessings,
      Rebecca :)

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  2. As I watched this on my DVR last night I immediately thought of you and I felt that the comment was super insensitive. It's like saying someone can't find the silver lining in things if they are sick. Why not?!

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    1. I TOTALLY agree with you Lindsay... I often think that our situations in life are somewhat how we respond. I would NEVER have chosen to walk this journey of Lyme Disease (and there are TONS of tears behind the scenes!!) but I do feel that I have a choice on how I respond to this illness... I can let it rob me of the time that I have now and rob my family of joy that we can find now and make everyone miserable or we can all cry together and also try to find the moments of laughter and joy.

      I shared this in a post back in January (http://www.caravansonnet.com/2015/01/answering-but-you-dont-act-sick.html), but I have I realized with startling reality that God had answered a prayer that I started praying the first year I became housebound and bed bound. It wasn't a prayer that was easy to pray or one that I even knew the difficulty of living what I was praying, but it was the cry of my heart:

      "Thank you, Father, for these my friends. Thank you so much for these beautiful people, who are so very dear to me. Let my grief be mine alone. Anoint my countenance with the oil of joy, that none may ever feel embrassed to laugh in my presecence. May no joke or sharing of the ridiculous be stifled because I am there. Wrap me in the garment of praise, that I may not burden others with the heaviness of my grief."
      (Darlene Diebler Rose)

      Anyways, this response has gotten long *smiles*, but I wanted to say how much I appreciate your comment and your words! I hope that you have a wonderful Friday and a wonderful weekend!

      Merry Christmas!
      Blessings, Rebecca :)

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  3. My cousin suffers as well and she gets so angry when people think she's not really sick. Ugh. People are ignorant!

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    1. Neely,

      Thank you so much for stopping by and taking the time to comment on this post!! I was so sorry to hear of your cousin's struggle with Lyme Disease. I wouldn't want anyone to suffer with this. I will be definitely keeping her in my thoughts and prayers during this difficult journey. I would have to agree with your cousin that one of the things that makes me so angry is when people think that I am not really sick. It is extremely discouraging and frustrating, especially when you are fighting for your life.

      Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to comment and share about your cousin. I truly appreciate it!

      I hope that you have a lovely weekend!
      Merry Christmas!
      Rebecca :)

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  4. I just can't understand people sometimes, reality television or no. What gives anyone the right to pass judgment, question choices, or otherwise interfere with someone else's struggles of any sort? I hope this television show does some good (which may be a first for the Houswives series).

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    1. Debbie,

      Thank you so much for your comment and for taking the time to read this post! I agree with you that I am hoping that this television show will help do some good in this area! I have never watched the Housewives series before, but am hoping along with you that some good will come out of this!

      Thank you again for taking the time to stop by and read my blog post and comment!!
      Blessings,
      Rebecca :)

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  5. I watch RHOBH and was appalled by this. People who are going through chemotherapy have better days than others and if they were to post a "happy selfie" people would be overjoyed to see them having a good day. Like you said, because they don't understand the disease they are quick to judge it. Yolanda has done so much for getting the word out there about what Lyme's disease is. I would have never known it's constant roller coaster of challenges if I had never seen Yolanda's "happy selfies, sick selfies".

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    1. Thank you SOOO much for your comment!!! I really can't express enough how much your comment meant to me and what an encouragement it is. It is so true that with people going through chemotherapy we are quick to rejoice when we see that they post a "happy selfie". I truly hope that as Lyme Disease becomes more understood this same type of celebration and encouragement will happen for those traveling through the journey of Lyme Disease treatment. I so appreciate that you mentioned how Yolanda has showcased the constant roller coaster of challenges through her "happy selfies, sick selfies". The journey of Lyme is truly a daily (and often hourly) event of ups and downs, laughter and lots of tears, and lots of determination to work through those ranging emotions that often change based on how you are feeling.

      Thank you so much again for stopping by and sharing your thoughts!
      Merry Christmas!
      Rebecca :)
      p.s. I would have loved to email you back directly but unfortunately you are a "no reply" blogger. I look forward to hopefully connecting with you more in the future!

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  6. I am an avid RHOBH fan, however I completely agree with you on this. First, I think Taylor has no right putting her input on anyone else's life considering her story...which we can save for another time. I think if someone truly doesn't understand and genuinely cares and wants to know more, that will become obvious in how they ask. I am not ill, but if someone took that approach, I would be more appreciative of their questions because I knew they were sincere

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    1. Amanda,

      Thank you so much for stopping by and leaving a comment. I admit that I have not watched the show and am not aware of Taylor Armstrong's story. I love how you pointed out that there is a difference between someone genuinely caring about a person's story and experience and how that will be obvious in how they ask and approach another person. Because Lyme Disease is so misunderstood and is not well known many people who are dear and close friends will often ask me questions (regarding treatment, my journey, etc.) and even will refer back to one of my most popular posts "What is Lyme Disease" (http://www.caravansonnet.com/2014/05/what-is-lyme-disease.html) often. These type of questions or even caring and compassionate questions that are asked in a spirit of understanding are always welcome. BUT it is the questions and way that Taylor handled this situation that is completely appalling to me. I would go as far as to say that if Yolanda was suffering with Cancer and was posting "happy selfie, sick selfie" and posting pictures of her treatment and progress there might have been a completely different conversation. On the other hand, I don't know because I do not watch RHOBH. My prayer and hope is that there would be greater understanding and support for each of us as we walk in our stories- whether we are sick or not as each person is truly fighting a battle for something. It sounds like you suggest that Taylor has her own unique story (like we all do) and I can only hope and pray that she has encountered more understanding and respect and compassion than she gave Yolanda.

      Thank you so much for stopping by and leaving your comment! I would have loved to have emailed you back directly but unfortunately you are a "no reply blogger". I hope to connect with you more in the future!

      Merry Christmas!
      Rebecca :)

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  7. It really is so sad how people are quick to judge what they don't understand and I can't believe some of the comments people have made to you! I think the best and safest place to start with anyone is to assume that what they are going through is valid and incredibly hard and let all of our comments and questions come out of that place of compassion rather than one of judgment. I'm so glad you use your blog to respond to comments and situations like this with grace and truth!

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    1. Lauren,

      Thank you so much for your sweet comment and taking the time to read this post! It is so shocking what people can say to one another isn't it? I have been personally convicted in my life through this journey to REALLY examine my words and to really make sure that they are coming from a place of "life-giving" words before I speak. I have realized through this journey how little I know of another's struggles. I hope that this will remain a lesson that I take with me for the rest of my life!

      Thank you so much for your encouragement and all of your support as I travel through this difficult season. Your words and encouragement are TRULY a blessing! I hope that you have a wonderful Monday and a wonderful week!!

      Merry Christmas!
      Rebecca :)

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  8. I have a diagnosis of fibromyalgia but have also been told I most likely had Lyme Disease as well. The symptoms of both are so similar they are often misdiagnosed. Since I had five symptoms first I most likely contracted Lyme Disease at a later date. My point is that both are so devastating to a person's lifestyle but yet it is often looked at as a problem that's"all in our head" simply because we don't"look sick". We have to be our own advocates and it has helped for my husband to go to the Dr. With me and hear him explain that this is a very real disease. I've learned what I can and cannot do as far as physical exertion and when to tell people NO. Best of luck!

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    1. Thank you so much for taking the time to stop by my blog and leave a comment on my post! I am so sorry to hear of your health struggles. Before I was correctly diagnosed with Lyme Disease I received the diagnosis of Fibro and had a small experience with seeing how doctors are often quick to dismiss the devastating pain that suffers deal with. I am so glad that you have a supportive husband who attends your doctors appointments- that is such a key to our health - having a supportive team!!

      It is true that we have to be our own advocates - especially within the health care realm, but I also feel a need to write blog posts like this one for those who are in the Lyme community and are too sick or exhausted to address this important issue and what happened in the RHOBH episode. I have been so blessed with a wonderful support system through family members and loved ones and now through my AMAZING medical team that I want to speak up for those who do not have that support. Unfortunately I have encountered and connected with too many Lymies who are truly alone in their fight and I desire to remind them that they are not alone.

      Thank you again for taking the time to comment. Best of luck to you also in your fight for your health!
      Merry Christmas!
      Rebecca :)

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