Yolanda Lyme Disease: Real Housewives of Beverly Hills

Yolanda Lyme Disease

This week, Yolanda told her Lyme Disease story. I love to watch The Real Housewives BH.  I watch it for the fact that it is so unreal and allows me to escape the thoughts of my real life to watch these extravagant overdramatized women.  So when I watched the Beverly Hills premiere I was shocked at the real emotional response I had to it.  In the episode, Yolanda broke down some walls to show the world what an invisible illness looks like.  Yolanda has been battling Lyme disease for about three years.  I have to admit that I don’t know much about it and have the impression Yolanda will be teaching a lot this season.  What I do know a lot about is having Migraine which dictates my life.  They seem similar in the stigmatized nature.

BH real housewives premiere

Yolanda and Lyme Disease

To begin with, she should be proud of exposing herself to the vultures who will inevitably pick her apart during the season.  She could have easily quit the show and battled behind closed doors like so many of us do.  Instead, she is really making a difference in the real world by advocating and creating a support system for her inevitable following.  Lyme disease sufferers will be able to see all of the treatments money can buy.   Like my migraine life, Yolanda seems to be a guinea pig with her treatments and searched endlessly to find help and better health.  She says she looks normal yet is so sick which is something I feel every day!

While she is becoming the face of her disease she dared to show her face make-up free in Beverly Hills and on TV (GASP!)  Their snickering comments did not surprise me.  Not much these women do shocks me, that’s why I watch it.  But let me explain the poignancy of what Yolanda did through a person with an invisible disease’s perspective……

The Real Yolanda

Lisa V. commented that if she was sick she may have stayed home and that she could have taken 10 seconds to throw some eye makeup on.  If she was sick with the flu or sinus infection, in fact, she may have stayed home.  But she has been struggling for years with this.  Being that I have had migraine most of my life, I understand this.  When you are chronically sick, every move takes calculation.  If I do this how will I feel?  Then how will I feel?  And then how will that make me feel?  I guess wrong all the time and push myself then get sicker.  I don’t push myself and continue to isolate myself.

Yolanda has moved into a condo because her palatial home was too big for her to reside in and making her doctors closer.  Her Lyme disease has taken control of her life.  While throwing on makeup may seem so simple to some, I can tell you from experience that I have gotten ready for a party, and by the time I was done I had to cancel my plans because I used all of my energy.  So maybe she saved her energy to see her friends who she has been unable to see.    But instead of being happy to see Yolanda’s face out of her condo, they chose to comment on how she wasn’t wearing makeup.

But you Don’t Look Sick

Yolanda and her Lyme Disease didn’t look good to the ladies.  If she chose to show up with perfect makeup and a hot dress, they would have commented on how “She doesn’t look sick!”  So she showed up, “Not looking good at all.”  Guess what?  She’s not good at all.  It’s ok to look that way.  I sometimes get a glance of myself in a mirror and think, “Wow, I should put some makeup on.”

Then I think, why?  It is such a gross notion to think, maybe if I look a bit how I feel people will acknowledge that I’m having a bad day.  All of these emotions came pouring out of me while watching Yolanda sit there watching her friends laughing about ridiculously expensive sunglasses.  She excused herself early which is also something I have had to do.  I could see how much effort it took her to be there and her physical response to being at the lunch.


I relate so much to her.  Something I haven’t had to do is watch myself sick and trying to grasp for normalcy while my friends talked behind my back.  Yolanda is going to see a whole lot of nastiness and without a doubt, lose friends and hopefully discover what real friendship and love are.  So let me finish by saying, no matter how close or far your relationship is, people deserve to be treated with respect and compassion.  You have no idea what it’s like until you’ve walked in someone else’s Louis Vuitton.   Yolanda is going to show that no matter how much money (and she has a lot!) you can’t buy a cure, health, or friends.  She’s going to be REAL!

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Sarah Rathsack

I tell stories of My Migraine Life. Living life through Migraine consists of advocacy, treatment, prevention, and searching for health and happiness in a positive honest way. My kids, husband, dog, family and friends motivate me to make a difference in the Migraine World.
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  1. mymigrainelife on May 6, 2016 at 3:39 pm

    Reblogged this on My Migraine Life and commented:

    Since it’s finale time for the RHOBH I thought I’d repost my feelings on Yolanda and her invisible illness. If you aren’t a fan, I’m not offended by you not re rereading. Yolanda’s strength to fight all the rumors and her own fight was interesting to watch. I commend her for staying on the show and showing what a real illness looks like and all the implications that go with it. Not many people would be as brave, especially in Hollywood, to be so vulnerable. This season brought out a lot of emotions and I found myself talking out loud on Yolanda’s behalf many times. It could not have been easy and I thank her for being so candid.

  2. Michelle on May 17, 2016 at 6:25 am

    I too have chronic invisible illnesses, severe migraines, fibromyalgia, ostio arthritis and recently diagnosed with essential tremor which is progressing fast, in the Uk we receive a benefit called disability living allowance, the amount of Criticism I get for this is unreal, I enjoy holidays 3 times a year, I am so more pain free in the warmth, but of course this is wrong in the workers eyes, I can totally understand this as I am by no means rich but I get to go on holidays where as many friends who work hard don’t, but I am constantly explaining that I worked from the age of 13 up until 1999 when things got unbearable, my last job I had for about 8 yrs I absolutely loved, loosing that to being unfit to work was devastating, I have 2 children one of which is autistic, so having a severe migraine and coping with my son how he is is horrendously hard, I have very minimal help and believe me make up is the last thing on my mind, I watch RHOBH and totally feel for yolanda – the critism, pain and isolation is terrible xxx

  3. mymigrainelife on May 17, 2016 at 6:53 am

    Thank you for your comment. I’m so sorry you suffer and are criticized for it. It’s unfair and undeserved. Take care of yourself and your dear son. Fight on, mama!!

  4. Pippit L Carlington on November 21, 2016 at 10:32 pm

    Good for Yolanda for having the courage to come as her real self and not let the bunch of bitches pressure her into bending to their superficial BS expectations! I’ve watched a few such shows and find the maturity really lacking in the women they tend to choose to be featured. While it is somewhat entertaining I also think it sets a bad example for how to treat others. I hope Yolanda can do some educating while she’s there and elevate the level of interaction and authenticity on the show. I think stories like hers can be just as captivating or more than the petty drama that often dominates.

  5. mymigrainelife on November 22, 2016 at 7:24 am

    So true

  6. Krista on December 8, 2016 at 8:38 am

    I love Real Housewives for the same reason. It is usually so unreal. That woman who flew her glam squad out to Dubai–yeah that is not real life! I was captivated by Yolanda’s journey–and was so impressed how open she was about how awful it was. And the agonizing decisions those of us with chronic illness have to make. And how disgusting and judgmental some of the women were. It was eye opening. I also liked seeing her go through so many treatments I had read about and wondered if they might help my migraines. I would do most, if not all of them, if I could afford it! Going into the cold chamber, getting iv’s, etc. Closet full of supplements and alternative treatments–of course I would! Bring it on! And the struggle with deciding what toxins to put on/in your body. I have stopped coloring my hair, use more non toxic body soap, stopped using flouride toothpaste, use less toxic laundry and dish detergent, avoiding magnesium sterate in supplements, etc. People have no idea how desperate we are to get better and the lengths we will go to try to figure out how to improve our health. And, yes, I get that it sounds crazy to a lot of people, but we have tried many of the standard therapies and they haven’t worked, so we explore other, less conventional, options. Thank you for sharing this piece! I have been dieing to talk to people about this!

  7. mymigrainelife on December 8, 2016 at 9:53 am

    Thanks for your response. I totally agree. I found myself talking out loud to the tv during the season. I try a lot of alternative treatments too. I’m currently looking into non toxic products and talking to a company that certifies them clean to use. I just feel so poisoned all the time. Good luck in your journey. I’d love any tips on how you are cutting back on toxic products more. We can all learn from each other. Thank you!

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