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Kelly Osbourne Reveals Scary Struggle With Lyme Disease

by
author image Leah Groth
Leah Groth is a writer and editor currently based in Chicago. She has covered topics such as entertainment, health & wellness for such publications and websites as xoJane, Babble, Radar, Fit Pregnancy, Mommy Nearest, Living Healthy and PopDust.
Kelly Osbourne Reveals Scary Struggle With Lyme Disease
Kelly Osbourne struggled with Lyme disease for nearly a decade. Photo Credit: Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Lyme disease is a mysterious ailment. The tick bite-transmitted condition can be difficult to diagnose and there isn’t a definitive, guaranteed cure. Kelly Osbourne recently revealed that after being bitten by a tick in 2004, she unknowingly struggled with the illness for more than a decade before finally getting a proper diagnosis — and her story may keep you reapplying bug repellent or simply staying far away from tick-infested areas for good.

In an excerpt from her upcoming book, “There Is No F*cking Secret: Letters From a Badass Bitch,” published on the Us website, the 32-year-old explains that she contracted the disease at the age of 19, after her mother Sharon gifted her father Ozzy a reindeer sanctuary in their backyard for his 56th birthday. She was bitten by a tick, but despite her father burning it off with a match, a mark — and Lyme disease — was left behind.

For the next 10 years she says she suffered “traveling pains,” including sore throats and stomachaches. Doctors misdiagnosed her with epilepsy after she suffered a seizure in 2013 and turned her “into a zombie” with all the changes they made to her medications.

“My prescriptions kept piling up. 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,” she said.

After one of these medications left her “barely able to speak” and “reduced to a lump on the couch,” Kelly reached her breaking point and threw all of the pills in the trash. “I can’t live like this anymore,” she writes. “I’m a vegetable.”

She turned to alternative medicine practitioner Philip Battiade at Infusio, who had treated her brother Jack for MS, and finally confirmed her fears. “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,” she shares in her new book.

“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 3 neurological Lyme disease. I was relieved to finally know what was going on, but I was also scared s--tless.”

According to the CDC, 30,000 cases of Lyme disease are reported in the United States every year and approximately 300,000 Americans suffer from it. It’s common for patients be treated with antibiotics in the early stages to fully recover, but 10 to 20 percent may experience symptoms like “fatigue, muscle aches, sleep disturbance or difficulty thinking” after completing treatment.

While the CDC states “antibiotics are the only known effective treatment for Lyme disease,” Kelly decided to go with Battiade’s alternative route. She flew to his treatment center in Germany where she stayed for two weeks, completing stem cell therapy. She explains that it strengthened her immune system rather than trying to kill it off with antibiotics, making it a “much more complete and lasting cure.”

She started feeling like herself again quickly. “I was experiencing emotions and feelings again. I’d been in a diseased and doctor-approved, drug-induced haze for so long that I didn’t know what it was like to be happy or sad or in pain.”

Osbourne maintains that she kept quiet about her struggle with Lyme disease because she was afraid of pharmaceutical companies coming after her because of the cure she found in Germany and also because of how trendy the disease has become in Hollywood. “I’m tired of seeing sad celebrities play the victim on the cover of weekly mags,” she says in the Us excerpt. “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.”

Osbourne’s final advice? “Stay the f--k away from reindeer.” Sounds like a solid plan.

What Do YOU Think?

Have you ever battled Lyme disease? Would you seek alternative treatment for an ailment? Has Lyme disease really become trendy in Hollywood?

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