Yolanda Hadid writes about her battle with Lyme Disease in her book Believe Me: My Battle with the Invisible Disability of Lyme Disease to help bring awareness about Lyme (a tick-borne illness), which is becoming epidemic and is poorly understood by conventional medicine. Yolanda goes from being a TV star of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, social butterfly, and active mother of three to being so sick and exhausted she’s unable to get out of bed.
When I started reading Believe Me, I wasn’t familiar with Yolanda as I hadn’t seen her on TV, so I thought probably only people who have Lyme disease or who follow her and her model kids would be interested in reading it. However, it’s very informative and inspiring, and I think everyone could benefit from reading it. Like many people who’ve suffered from chronic illness, Yolanda learns and grows from the experience and ultimately realizes what’s really important in life, which isn’t being on a reality TV show and living a Beverly Hills lifestyle.
I was interested in the book because I’ve battled with mold illness for many years and my journey and symptoms were similar to Yolanda’s. Mold and Lyme are both biotoxic illnesses (biotoxin definition: poison produced by and derived from an animal or plant). Yolanda writes that tests showed she had high levels of mold in her body, which is the case with some of the sickest people with Lyme (see why in this article).
Unfortunately, there aren’t many doctors in the United States who properly diagnose and treat these illnesses. Our medical system offers no help as doctors don’t receive training in toxicity, prevention, or things like nutrition—it’s all about drugs and surgery. Patients are not believed and are often told it’s all in their heads and are prescribed antidepressants.
Because of Yolanda’s visibility on the Housewives show, her suffering was very public and she encountered a lack of understanding and compassion. It’s a tough read at times as she goes into a lot of detail, which she felt was necessary to be believed.
It may seem crazy to go all over the country (and the world, in Yolanda’s case) seeking answers and treatment, but it’s what many people with chronic illnesses end up doing, even when they don’t have Yolanda’s financial resources. I have done it myself and know many others who have too.
Healing from these kinds of illnesses can take years as it often takes years for symptoms to develop. People want a quick fix but there usually isn’t one, and part of the journey for many is having to go from doctor to doctor, which can be financially draining. You’re willing to do whatever it takes to try to get better, because as Yolanda realizes, if you don’t have your health, you don’t have anything. Yolanda’s words are powerful, so I quote her a lot in this post:
But what good is money in the bank if I’m too sick to enjoy it? Or, even worse if I’m dead? God’s given me this journey for a reason. Why sit in America at a dead end? Once again, I pray that it will be the answer.
Throughout the book, Yolanda tries to keep up with the demands of her life but can’t. She feels that she’s just “existing” not living. She feels socially isolated when she’s no longer able to get dressed up and go out to have fun. Adding to the frustration is the lack of understanding from people as in the beginning, she doesn’t appear sick. Especially tough for her is having to deal with her uncaring co-stars on her TV show and the break-up of her marriage.
….I don’t look good. I definitely look ill . . . but that’s because I AM! I miss the days of what now feels like my old life: the hair, the makeup, a sexy dress, but most of all being in a healthy body. At the end of the day, I now want to be ‘real,’ not to be ‘perfect.’ I still like to believe though that no beauty shines brighter than that of a good heart.
It’s easy to get caught up in thinking healing is just about the body (diet, supplements, prescription drugs and doctors), but there’s also the mind and spiritual part that’s important too. When you’re really sick, you’re forced to slow down and go within and do the necessary mindset/spiritual work to help heal.
Yolanda’s growth and healing seems to happen when she starts listening to her intuition and body and gives in to the need to slow down and connect with nature. She begins to live more consciously and finds purpose in giving a voice to people with Lyme, which brings her strength and joy. She wants to create “a life that feels good on the inside, not one that just looks good on the outside.” This means a simpler life–the Beverly Hills life isn’t for her anymore. She learns who her friends are and that there’s always someone who’s worse off like her friend who dies of ALS.
Towards the end of the book, she talks about feelings of love, gratitude, and forgiveness, and what’s really important: her family and friends.
…Although my life is so isolated, I’m more and more connected to my inner spirit and strength. I learn to focus on myself without feeling guilty and am consciously letting go of anything and anyone toxic in my life. My focus needs to stay on my reason for living: my children….
Yolanda’s journey shows that recovering from illness is hard work and takes dedication. She finds new strength and never gives up hope that she’ll find a cure. She’s proof that illness can be a learning experience and life can be even better than before. That’s been my experience, too, and it’s the reason I have this blog and became a Bulletproof™ Coach.
Hopefully Yolanda’s message about Lyme disease will reach a wide audience and prevent people from going down the wrong treatment path so they’ll get better sooner and save money. Or even prevent people from getting sick in the first place.
The book’s message doesn’t just apply to Lyme, though. Chronic illness touches everyone at some point, and perhaps this peek inside the life of someone who’s battled it will bring awareness and understanding. It’s tragic that so many chronically ill people aren’t believed by doctors, friends, and family members.
Here’s some of the treatments Yolanda tried:
- Address gut health by eating an organic low- carb diet, taking probiotics and gut-healing supplements, juicing, and getting rid of parasites
- Detox the body through methods such as fasting, sweating, chelation, colonics, and hyperbaric oxygen treatments
- Nutritional supplements and IVs, such as vitamin C and glutathione
- Herbal supplements and antifungals to kill off the organisms, depending on what they are
- Address biofilms with things like ozone, colloidal silver, and cistus tea
- Take binders such as activated charcoal and bentonite clay to absorb the toxins
- Do things for the immune system like Low-Dose Immunotherapy (LDI) and stem cell treatments
I’ve done these things myself, but it’s hard to say which were most helpful; some are very expensive, so I’m not suggesting you try all of them.
Sometimes having a diagnosis can make you so focused on it that you can miss other things that would otherwise be staring you in the face, such as in Yolanda’s case, toxic dental work and breast implants (both potent sources of biotoxicity), which she addresses near the end of the book, when she ends up being treated by Lyme expert, Dr. Dietrich Klinghardt, about three years into her illness. It’s not her fault, though, because conventional doctors don’t see these things as a problem–I can attest from personal experience that they are.
. . . The biggest lesson here? Ask questions, look at everything you put in your mouth, or any other part of your body, for that matter. Again, we can’t blindly trust authority to guide us, and what works for one person doesn’t necessarily work for another. Any foreign object will create some sort of immune response. . .
I couldn’t have said it better myself. You need to be an advocate for your own health, mind what you put in your body, and not trust others to fix you. I never really did find the one right doctor. I learned from many of them, but ultimately had to put it together myself.
It’s so sad to see so many people who are heading down a path that will ultimately end in illness. Why wait until your immune system finally breaks down and you become chronically ill? Yes, We’re all toxic to some degree because of the world we’re living in, but we can do some simple things like eating healthy foods, exercising, managing stress, getting enough sleep, and avoiding toxins.