I've never watched The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. I only know Yolanda Hadid through her role as a Lyme disease advocate. As a Lyme patient myself, I was a little leery of a Real Housewife being our unofficial spokesperson; however, after watching this episode of The Dr. Oz Show, I'm happy to have her working for a cure on my behalf. She spoke articulately about her devastating Lyme experience and gave credibility to our often misunderstood battle.
The episode aired on March 1st, 2016 and was Yolanda's 1st interview about her four year struggle with Lyme disease. The Dr. Oz Show was the perfect platform, because it is a medical show that often legitimizes alternative therapies.
I found it funny that as the show opens, the first thing Dr. Oz says to Yolanda is, "You look good." When he said it I could hear the collective gasp of Lyme patients everywhere. As a remark, it often feels patronizing and minimizes our condition. It was clear Dr. Oz didn't mean any harm by it, and Yolanda handled it gracefully.
During the show, Dr. Oz accurately described Yolanda's battle as a "full time job." Her journey is like many of ours except on steroids. She traveled to 11 countries and saw over 100 doctors. With all the resources in the world, the best care, and the best doctors, she still struggles every day.
Her medical care includes:
-a treatment room in her house
-a doctor’s visit once a week
-a private nurse 4 days a week
-a personal health advocate
-ongoing physical therapy
At first I was put off, because of the lack of attention paid to the fact insurance doesn't cover treatment for many people with Lyme disease and how most patients don’t have the finances to fund appropriate care. However, near the end of the episode Yolanda said this about her mission:
"I try to stay focused on the higher purpose of my journey and stay focused on finding a cure that's affordable for all and keep bringing awareness to chronic invisible disease that millions of people suffer from."
As for being in the public eye, I know how hard it is for me to face the Lyme controversy in my small circle, I can't imagine dealing with it on a National level. Yet facing criticism every day and being told she is "faking it," Yolanda continues to speak out for what she believes in:
"To be judged like that it’s such an insult to your integrity as a woman. Nobody would choose to stay in bed 24 hours a day for that many years."
In the end, it was an hour long, Nationally televised show, all dedicated to chronic Lyme disease. We’ve come so far. Way to go Dr. Oz.
Before he signed off, Dr. Oz told Yolanda, "I'll keep following your story, if you're willing to share it with us."
I'm looking forward to updates and hopefully a better understanding of Lyme disease for all.
What did you think of the show?
"She stood in the storm and when the wind did not blow her away, she adjusted her sails." - Elizabeth Edwards
I'm Kerry and I am a writer and licensed therapist. This is a positive space focused on how to thrive in any situation and the transformative power of illness.