Broadway's Debbie Gibson Reveals Lyme Disease Diagnosis
Broadway star Deborah "Debbie" Gibson (Les Miserables, Beauty and the Beast, and Cabaret) has revealed in her personal blog that she has been suffering from Lyme disease for the past year. While the actress and singer is still in this process of recovering and undergoing treatment, she shares that she "actually feels like "ME" again," following a year of pain and suffering.
An excerpt from the entry follows, and you can read it in its entirety here.
I feel compelled to address a health related issue I have been dealing with. Last year, I was diagnosed with Lyme disease. It is an elusive disease that disguises itself as many other things and creates a lot of pain and discomfort along the way.
At the start of 2013, I spent time both on the West and East Coast followed by travel overseas. I am not exactly sure when or where I picked it up, but, in the early spring, I began to show unusual symptoms. A lot of Lyme symptoms mimic symptoms of anxiety and stress. Friends kept saying, "Well, it's only natural that you are a bit anxious!" I was about to start taping a network TV Show.
The first symptoms came in the form of food sensitivities. I found I could not touch sugar, starch, caffeine, certain oils, etc., without having a severe reaction that felt like jolts of electricity running through my body. I felt like a live wire. Talk about "Electric Youth!"
I started getting nerve pain and muscle fatigue in a way I never before had. My back would light up with fiery pain as cameras rolled. Every chance I got I would close my dressing room door and meditate or do some form of guided relations. I was extremely fatigued. I thought "Do I have mono or something?!?" I got tested for everything under the sun, though it did not occur to me, or my West Coast doctors, to test for Lyme. It is typically an East Coast thing.
After taping the first episode of the ABC show "Sing Your Face Off," my back went out. I knew I had Gay Pride concerts to do in the NY area about 10 days later. I just kept resting and meditating and eating a ton of protein and fat to try to keep weight on... egg yolks, red meat, you name it! But the weight kept failing off and I had a gaunt and "spinewy" look and felt extremely fragile as well as emotional and depressed. I could barely walk. I started feeling numbness and tingling in my hands and feet, which is very disconcerting for a pianist and dancer to say the least. Night sweats, chills, fever, nerve tremors, nightmares, and migraine headaches were at a fever pitch without a minute of relief.
Lifted by the love of my hometown crowd, Long Island Pride rocked! Though, after the show, a fan jokingly commented, "Get this girl a burger." I took that fan's advice and forced down a burger. It got me through the next show.
During the next several months, I would continue to cycle in and out of this flu like state and my doctors, unable to see me in person due to my touring schedule, would deduce by phone I had H Pylori or maybe an upper respiratory infection. I was put on Z paks, Amoxicillin and Dixilant. These combos of meds made me feel considerably better. But I would only stay on a typical 10-day course. With Lyme, it takes cocktails of numerous meds for long stints to truly cure it as well as all its co-infections. The symptoms would be staved off for a few weeks then return. I kept performing and filming through the discomfort. I refused to be a "patient" or a "victim." Though I still had not gotten to the bottom of what was going on, I kept saying to myself, "this is temporary," as I felt like I was disappearing. I lacked vital energy... a shell of myself.