In Her Own Words: How Yolanda Hadid Has Bravely Battled Lyme Disease
A FRIGHTENING DIAGNOSIS
Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Yolanda Hadid was first diagnosed with chronic Lyme disease, a type of bacterial infection, in 2012, and has since been confronted with an uphill battle, as there's no known cure for the illness. Despite her diagnosis, Hadid has remained optimistic, regularly posting updates about her condition on social media as well as on her blog.
Hadid is undoubtedly committed to finding a cure for Lyme disease. Here, she hits the recovery room following a stem cell transplant earlier this year. "Sweet dreams to my new stem cells, may they strengthen my immune system to destroy the silent killer inside of me and turn this mess into a message," she wrote on Instagram.
JOURNEY TO RECOVERY
"Home and back to the full time job," she wrote post-transplant, sharing a photo of herself surrounded by bottles of medication (aptly using #AWholeLotofPills to describe the scene).
PATIENCE IS KEY
LOVE & SUPPORT
AN UNBREAKABLE SISTERHOOD
Hadid's Real Housewives of Beverly Hills castmates joined her in spreading Lyme disease awareness by participating in her social media campaign, which encouraged people to pose with actual limes. Kyle Richards, Lisa Rinna and Lisa Vanderpump were among those who accepted the #LymeDiseaseChallenge; "This one's for you @yolandahfoster," captioned Richards.
TRYING SOMETHING NEW
"The most frustrating thing is that there is medical data on Lyme and spirochete infections going back all the way to 1908, but yet we still don't have proper diagnostic testing, a vaccine, or a cure for Lyme disease while we are living in the United States of America, the most extraordinary country in the world," Hadid, who also experimented with cryotherapy, wrote in a blog post.
"I have lost the ability to read, write, or even watch TV, because I can't process information or any stimulation for that matter," the star shared last season (here, she undergoes neurofeedback to help re-train her brain). "It feels like someone came in and confiscated my brain and tied my hands behind my back to just watch and see life go by without me participating in it."
At the Global Lyme Alliance inaugural gala in October, Hadid revealed her youngest kids – Bella and Anwar Hadid – also suffer from chronic Lyme disease. "I will walk to the end of the earth to find a cure so that you can live a healthy life that you deserve," she said to the two while giving a speech at the event. "No child should suffer the way that you do ... I thank you both for your extraordinary selflessness during this journey."
"Throughout this journey, I have finally, after 51 years, met the true core of my being. I understand pain and suffering in a dimension I never knew existed," Hadid wrote on her blog. "I am finding my own strength at its best, yet in the worst time of my life. I am getting to the most raw and vulnerable part of me and it has changed my perspective towards life and human beings for the rest of my life."
A DIFFERENT KIND OF THERAPY
"Being challenged in life is inevitable, being defeated is optional," Hadid, seen here receiving Low Dose Allergy Immunotherapy, posted on Instagram.
In a recent teaser for the upcoming season of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, Kyle Richards talks to ET about the drama that came about after it was revealed a few castmates questioned the severity of Hadid's Lyme disease. "That's the most frustrating part of this disease – you look so normal from the outside … it's a silent killer, an invisible disability that unfortunately is tough," Hadid told Andy Cohen on Watch What Happens Live.
NOTHING TO HIDE
Hadid continues to get up-close and personal about her health crisis on Instagram. "I can only hope that by sharing this not so glamorous journey, the millions of doubted amp neglected Lyme sufferers will gain medical recognition of their illness and the appropriate treatment affordable for all," she wrote in January 2016, adding that she's not asking for pity. "I am not afraid for you to see me for who I really am and what my days are really like … I have learned to love every part of me without apology!"
A NEW DAY
Things are looking up for Hadid, who told PEOPLE in October 2016 that she's "80 percent better." As for what has contributed to the reality star's improved health state, Hadid specifically cites a strict eating regimen. "I'm back on a very extreme diet: no gluten, no dairy, no grains, no caffeine, no alcohol, no black tea and nothing that turns into sugar." She added, "It's boring. But I would eat bark for a year if it would save my life. I would do anything."
Now more focused than ever to regain her health, Hadid is in what “feels like remission” and she’s focused on her family, recovery and finding a cure.
“As difficult as these past five years have been, I am so grateful that this journey has led me to living in the light,” she told PEOPLE. “I have had it all and lost it all, only to realize that less is more, money can’t buy you health or happiness, and one day at a time is good enough.”