I am not a fan of reality television. But I am a helluva fan of Yolanda Foster, a Real Housewife of Beverly Hills. Though her and I probably don’t have much in common, her and I do share an illness, which means she’s kindred to me.
That illness is Lyme disease, and probably some of the co-infections that come along with it.
I recently read her latest blog post so aptly titled “Yolanda: I’ve Learned to Accept People’s Lack of Long-Term Compassion”. In it, she explains the common tale: Missing your old life. Missing every part of it, from the somewhat shallow facets like parties and socializing, to the deeper parts like having a body that you can count on.
She also talks about another familiar aspect of this disease and other “invisible illnesses”: How you look versus how you feel.
Granted, in Beverly Hills, I am guessing the pressure to look good is a little bit different than the homely demands of my east coast lifestyle. But there have been innummerable times when the way I look doesn’t reflect how I feel. When I went on medical leave from work, others my age would say things like “Well you look really good! You must be getting better.”
Though I know they were just trying to be positive, the reality is, chronic Lyme disease is not a condition where the patient is simply treated, gets better, recovers and goes back to 100% within a year.
Every case is unique and the science behind it is so poor, as of now there is no “one size fits all” treatment plan. At some point, Yolanda compares seeking treatment for neurological Lyme to trying to “uncover a murder mystery”. Girlfriend is right. Here we have someone who has almost unlimited resources and exposure and even she can’t find totally effective treatment.
The fact that she has tried ozone therapy, holistic antibiotic therapy, and what I think was HBOT in that video clip, means she’s reaching for every option available. She’s doing all of this while in the public spotlight and gracefully dealing with peers who doubt her illness and her treatment attempts.
Unfortunately for Lymies, it is all too common for acquaintences and even family members to, instead of admitting their own ignorance to the disease, question your treatment protocol and your pain. Which is why I applaud Yolanda for elegantly handling her notably questionable peers, the spotlight, and using her fame as a platform for raising awareness around a poorly understood and neglected disease.