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“My prescriptions kept piling up,” Osbourne writes. “I couldn’t sleep, so they gave me Ambien. When Ambien made me nauseated, they switched me to Trazodone, but that gave me acid reflux, so then I had to take an antacid every day. I took cranberry extract and antibiotics because one medication made me prone to getting urinary tract infections.”
Osborne says she got to the point where she told her loved ones, “I can’t live like this anymore. I’m a vegetable.”
Eventually, Osbourne made an appointment with Philip Battiade, an alternative health practitioner. She told him she was concerned she might have Lyme disease, and he agreed. Tests were ordered, and Osbourne was diagnosed with stage III neurological Lyme disease in 2014.
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The standard treatment for Lyme disease is antibiotics. “We can treat it with antibiotics by mouth,” says Jennifer Caudle D.O., a board-certified family medicine physician and assistant professor in the department of family medicine at Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine. “When people have advanced Lyme, we sometimes have to use IV antibiotics.”
Osbourne traveled to Germany to try stem cell therapy, which she says worked to mitigate her symptoms. The treatment is not FDA-approved. (Reboot your health with Women’s Health’s 12-Week Total-Body Transformation!)
Osbourne isn’t the only celebrity who suffered Lyme disease symptoms for months or years before a diagnosis. It took singer Avril Lavigne months to be diagnosed with Lyme disease. Ally Hilfiger, daughter of fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger, suffered for a decade before she was diagnosed.
Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for people to be misdiagnosed with another condition. “Lyme disease can be more common than we think,” Caudle says. “It is possible to have symptoms for a period of time and wonder what they are due to. Sometimes the symptoms of Lyme disease can overlap with other conditions, like fever, rash, and joint pains.”
Experts suggest checking yourself for ticks after any outdoor hikes, and recommend following the CDC guidelines on how to remove a tick. If you do start feeling ill after a tick bite, seek medical help as soon as you can.