You may be thinking, "What in the world does Justin Bieber have anything to do with Lyme disease?" Well, if you know, you know. If you don't, here's the scoop:
The Biebs has Lyme. I REPEAT, the Biebs has LYME.
The other day Justin Bieber released a statement saying he’s been diagnosed with Lyme Disease and it’s caused several different symptoms affecting his brain function, energy and overall health. Many people with Lyme can relate with knowing how debilitating and painful this disease can be.
After reading various articles sent by friends regarding Bieber and his Lyme diagnosis, my mind began racing like crazy. My first thought was, "What the heck? That is so awful." My second thought was, "This is like best case scenario for the Lyme community."
Now, before you immediately start hating me, pause for a moment and hear me out. I realize how unnerving and controversial the latter thought may be (then again, the disease I share my body with is quite controversial itself, so I guess you can say controversy runs in my blood 😉)...but you must know that I wouldn’t wish this insanely painful and debilitating disease called Lyme on my worst enemy. (Except for maybe that one kid from elementary who made fun of my teeth. Jk, Shalese. Jk.)
Back to my original point and most likely the reason why you clicked on this blog in the first place. Why I believe Justin Bieber having Lyme Disease will actually help validate Lyme disease:
First and foremost, Justin Bieber announcing his recent diagnosis to his global platform automatically puts a spotlight on Lyme disease. This brings both pros and cons. The pros align with my hope that, if done right, the truth about this disease, its growing community and the lack of resources for those suffering will be exposed. You’ll find the “cons” in the articles that falsely state “it’s an uncommon, non-transferable disease that only exists if there’s a bull rash.” (I’ll save that argument for another day.)
There’s something about fame and celebrity status that makes situations like this a little more “real” to the average person. Maybe it’s the fact that those in the spotlight have easier access to top doctors, treatment, testing, etc. so if they’re STILL suffering after all of those resources then “it must be real.”
I guarantee you the same people who have boldly doubted my Lyme disease diagnosis (who also happen to be in the medical industry) are rethinking their opinion, thanks to the Biebs. And really...thanks to the Biebs!
If he continues to use his platform to share his journey with Lyme, it’ll continue to bring awareness to this misunderstood disease as well as encourage those who are suffering in silence reminding them they are not alone. It’s looking hopeful as in his recent statement he said more information on his journey with Lyme will be uncovered in his upcoming docuseries.
In the meantime, there are so many conversations to be had. Two of the biggest misconceptions about Lyme Disease (among many) are "it's not that common" and "it's not difficult to treat." The average doctor will tell you that if you didn't see a tick and didn't have a ring or bullseye rash then it's most likely not Lyme disease. “Go rest, you’re probably just stressed and really run down.” (K, bye.)
What the system fails to share is that if Lyme is in fact NOT caught right away (which is very likely), it then weakens your immune system resulting in the body being exposed to co-infections and slowly but surely wreaks havoc.
One of the most critical and worrisome details I've learned over the years of fighting this disease myself is that a majority of Lyme cases are neurological, meaning it affects and attacks the brain. Some symptoms that follow this (which most resources and sites fail to report) are memory loss, lack of cognitive function, inability to control movements, eyesight weakening, speech impairment, etc.,the list goes on and on. Not to mention once you’ve gone a certain amount of time untreated, the damage can be irreversible and could potentially lead to other neurological diseases.
If you’ve read this far: hi, and thank you.
I’ll end with saying, there are numerous celebrities with Lyme disease and a good portion of them are using their fight with Lyme for good by spreading awareness, investing time and money into Lyme-focused foundations and most importantly (in my opinion) sharing their story. (Here’s a list: https://www.insider.com/celebrities-that-opened-up-about-lyme-disease-2018-11#daryl-hall-was-diagnosed-with-lyme-disease-in-2004-and-has-opened-up-about-his-experiences-10 )
So I admit, there are actually many different ways that Lyme disease can and SHOULD be validated. But either way I believe Justin Bieber sharing even a tidbit about his journey with Lyme is just another step in the right direction for the Lyme community. Most importantly, I sincerely wish him the best in his treatment, as I do every other individual fighting.
We are not alone and there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I just know it.