Lyme Disease Awareness Month: Kelly Osbourne's decade-long battle with the illness left her like a 'vegetable'

An excerpt from her memoir titled 'There Is No F*cking Secret: Letters From a Badass Bitch', Kelly revealed that a tick bite in 2004 took her through a decade of suffering


                            Lyme Disease Awareness Month: Kelly Osbourne's decade-long battle with the illness left her like a 'vegetable'
Kelly Osbourne (Getty Images)

Kelly Osbourne has gone through many ups and downs in her life, including a traumatic 10-year battle with undiagnosed Lyme disease. 

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection that is caused by deer ticks and it leads to pain and swelling in the joints, affects the nervous system, causes heart problems, and inflammation of the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord. Due to its array of symptoms and the fact that tick bites are often gone unnoticed, the disease is hard to diagnose and the symptoms can become debilitating.

Other stars such as Justin Bieber, Avril Lavigne, Martine Martine McCutcheon, and Bella Hadid have also suffered from this disease. 

An excerpt from her memoir titled 'There Is No F*cking Secret: Letters From a Badass Bitch', Kelly revealed that a tick bite in 2004 took her through a decade of suffering. Kelly's mother, Sharon Osbourne had gifted her husband, Ozzy Osbourne, a reindeer sanctuary in the backyard of their home for his 56th birthday. Kelly ended up getting bit by the tick that her father ended up burning off with a match, but it resulted in Kelly suffering from "traveling pain."

Kelly Osbourne, Ozzy Osbourne, and Sharon Osbourne attend the after party for the special screening of Momentum Pictures' 'A Million Little Pieces' on December 04, 2019 in West Hollywood, California (Getty Images)

After her seizure during the filming of E!’s 'Fashion Police' in 2013, doctors had diagnosed Kelly with epilepsy. "The doctors kept changing my prescription, trying to get the dosage right, and it turned me into a zombie. You know in movies where a mental patient sits in a rocking chair in a cardigan and nightgown and stares at a wall all day? That was me," she wrote.

She wrote that she was given numerous medications that left her nauseated, gave her acid reflux, made her prone to UTIs, and gave her anxiety. "Painkillers — for an ex–painkiller addict — to help with the head and body aches. Not kidding — I had pills to deal with the anxiety that I was having from taking so many pills. When I got yet another prescription that left me barely able to speak, I was reduced to a lump on the couch, and that was my breaking point. I took my bag of pills, and my fiancé [Matthew Mosshart; the two split in 2014] drove me to my mum’s house. I sat them all out, one by one until they lined up the length of the counter," she wrote in the book. 

“I can’t live like this anymore,” I said. “I’m a vegetable," wrote Kelly recalling the desperate times.

Kelly ended up seeking the expertise of Philip Battiade, an alternative medicine practitioner that had helped treat her brother for multiple sclerosis. "When I met with Philip, I assured him that I hadn’t used unprescribed drugs in years and that I thought I had Lyme disease. I had started entering my symptoms into online quizzes, and the results kept coming back Lyme disease. For the first time, someone listened to me, and I got tested. The results were positive: I had stage III neurological Lyme disease. I was relieved to finally know what was going on, but I was also scared s—tless," wrote Kelly about her diagnosis.

Instead of the standard treatment of antibiotics, Kelly chose to head to Germany to Philip’s treatment center for stem cell therapy. She wrote that the treatment had helped strengthen her immune system to enable her body to fight the disease on its own, referring to it as a "much more complete and lasting cure." The treatment she chose is not FDA-approved.

Kelly also opened up about how she kept her diagnosis quiet, saying, "I’ve kept quiet about my Lyme disease, not only for fear of pharmaceutical companies coming after me because of the cure I found in Germany but also because it seems like the trendy disease to have right now, and I’m tired of seeing sad celebrities play the victim on the cover of weekly mags. Since I know firsthand how awfully debilitating it is, I know who really has it and who is just trying to prolong their 15 minutes. I don’t understand how anyone could think that the life you have to live with Lyme disease is glamorous."

May is National Lyme Disease Awareness Month, and it brings an opportunity for Lyme patients, activists, and educators to share tips and open up about Lyme and tick-borne diseases. In this column, we highlight the struggles of celebrities and talk about preventive and cure measures.

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