The Chronicles of Yolandia: an Investigation of CLD – Part I: The Basic Breakdown

The Chronicles of Yolandia

An Investigation of Chronic Lyme Disease

Part I: The Basic Breakdown

With the latest season of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills upon us, the story line of Yolanda Hadid Foster’s Chronic Lyme Disease battle is front and center. During the show’s off-season, we have witnessed Yolanda detail her struggles, treatments, and experiences on social media. However, there is a growing concern that Yolanda’s social media and presence on the show is spreading pseudo-scientific beliefs, especially as she has had until now, an unquestioned platform.

I intend on breaking down CLD, Yolanda Foster herself, and the pseudoscience surrounding the CLD diagnosis, treatments, and experience. I am not a doctor, but I am a skeptic and I am knowledgeable about Lyme Disease itself, seeing as I live in a tick infested region. I have a personal interest in scientific knowledge and critical thinking. Housewives have a unique outreach, which is why on this blog, I will be addressing their pseudoscience specifically.

Onwards.Many know what Lyme Disease is–an infectious disease caused by ticks. The medical community is also very familiar with Lyme Disease, especially in the New England/Mid-Atlantic region where deer ticks and Lyme Disease are fairly common.

Lyme Disease happens like this:

  • 36-48 hours: Infection Occurs
  • 1-4 weeks: Early localized Lyme Disease
    • Flu-like symptoms occur, as well as the typical rash.
    • Sometimes, symptoms are not obvious.
    • However! This is the stage where majority of cases are treated.
  • 1-4 months: Early Disseminated infection
    • At this stage, the infection spreads across the skin (usually more rashes), joint issues, nervous/heart systems issues
    • Few patients make it this far because Lyme Disease is observable and treatable.
  • After 4 months: Late Persistent Lyme Disease
    • Serious joint and nervous system deterioration occurs.
    • The longer it goes not diagnosed, the more likely a fatal complication occurs. Clarification: one would probably have cardiac issues listed on the death certificate, rather than Lyme Disease.

As you can tell, the timeline from treatment to disastrous effects is fairly short. Lyme Disease is not something that takes years or even half a year to develop. Understanding the disease and timeline I think is crucial when we talk about this issue.

Lyme Disease Incidence Rates

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A couple things to note from the CDC’s chart here. As you can tell, incidences in California are fairly low. If we go with Yolanda’s general claim (there is so discrepancy) that she and her children got Lyme in 2012, that would be a crazy statistical anomaly. It would be fairly unheard of for 5% of cases in a state to belong to one family. Lyme Disease certainly exists in California, but it is not nearly as widespread as say in Connecticut, Massachusetts, or even Delaware (arguably much smaller states.)

Lyme Disease itself is a very specific and awful experience. I’ve known dozens of people to have it, seeing as I have lived in Pennsylvania and know many people from the New England and Mid-Atlantic region. Generally, a course of antibiotics does the trick and there may be some lingering pains or issues, but nothing like what Yolanda’s experience or instagram has shown.

However, Lyme Disease is not really what is at question here. What our questions surround is Chronic Lyme Disease and parsing out Yolanda’s story. For starters, we need to make it clear that Lyme Disease is not the same as Chronic Lyme Disease. And Chronic Lyme Disease is not the same as Post-Treatment Chronic Lyme Disease Syndrome.

Chronic Lyme Disease (CLD)

v.

Post-Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome (PTLDS)

Issues following treatment for any disease is not uncommon. Similarly, after Lyme Disease, roughly 10-20% of patients after Lyme Disease antibiotic treatment. This is called Post-Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome, or PTLDS. PTLDS can also include individuals who went untreated and suffer from late stage Lyme Disease effects like arthritis. PTLDS is a very real issue, with very real struggles, but also a very observable cause.

Treatments for PTLDS generally include anti-depressants, exercise, and possibly other medical interventions and majority of patients recover in about 6 months to a year.

But Yolanda hasn’t called her struggle PTLDS. Rather, she has called it Chronic Lyme Disease or CLD. This term is generally applied to individuals with nonspecific symptoms and where there is no objective evidence that they ever had Lyme Disease in the past.

Treatments for CLD begin with long term antibiotics and generally progress to other alternative herbs, vitamins, and therapies.

This is why the CDC for example, recognizes PTLDS, but not CLD. A common tactic in pseudoscience and anti-science groups is to take legitimate ideas or issues and change them just enough to be different, but be similar enough to muddy the waters.

The course of treatments for CLD to use antibiotics long term and in large quantities is actually dangerous and not one, but three studies done by the  National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases  demonstrated what other evidence has already shown: they are not effective in any way.

The Beginning Timeline and Facts

  • December 2012 – Yolanda Being Treated for “Neuro Borellia Lyme disease“she has a port installed.
  • April 2013 – Port removed
  • The same article claims at a Lyme Research Alliance gala earlier in April 2013, Yolanda states she has had symptoms for 2.5 years.
  • Lyme Research Alliance is a pseudoscience lobbying group for CLD.
  • This would mean Yolanda contracted Lyme Disease then somewhere around late 2010/early 2011.
  • The timeline will already get fuzzy because in this article at a gala from this year, Yolanda says she got it early 2012.
  • Viewers of the show will note that Yolanda’s first season is Season 3, which was filmed in 2012.
    • Frequently, she is shown exercising, alert, and does not comment about migraines, pain, or otherwise. In fact, she talks about just how healthy she is.
  • It isn’t clear still in my preliminary research that Yolanda has ever had Lyme Disease proper, rather that she was diagnosed with Chronic Lyme Disease.
  • I would suspect that if she had Lyme Disease, she would have been completely debilitated in her  first season, definitely second season.
  • In 2015, Yolanda claimed both Anwar and Bella, two of her children, also have Chronic Lyme Disease

What’s the harm?

If a rich lady wants to spend her money and damage her body with pseudoscience who are we to stop her?

The harm is that pseudoscience and alternative therapies can cost people their lives. Inappropriate therapies lead to death. Yolanda Hadid Foster has a large social media outreach and a television show with millions of viewers that she can influence and legitimize

Upcoming Posts

-A.M.

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16 comments

  1. Very interesting, but I do remember Yolanda claiming at one point that she believes she was infected when she was 13 and then later diagnosed with CLD. Not that this makes any more sense. And I would be curious what the incidence of Lyme was in the Netherlands. I will check back for your follow-up!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Tick bites in the Netherlands and Lyme Disease rates aren’t entirely clear but it is something along the lines of 139 cases per 100,000 people. But this is only within the past couple years, when Yolanda was already living in America. The rate of incidence in the 90s is much lower, I’m sure they have data but I also need to find an English translation of their studies and databases (the lower rate could be a change in diagnosing or reporting, I really do not know or can say for certain.)

      But more to the point, if she was bit when she was 13 by a tick and got Lyme Disease, she likely would have already suffered incredible complications, including possibly death. I have not seen her make that claim [yet- I feel like I find a new one each day!], but if I do, I will add it to the timeline.

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      • How the heck was Anwar able to play such a brutal and physically draining sport as football? And what parent would allow it with a disease Yolanda says is so off and on? More importantly, how did he pass a physical to play in the first place? I believe he played all the way through high school and possibly in his younger years.

        Also, Yolanda says it probably came from the horses they were around so much. If she had it before she started the show, then why was there a scene of Bella riding a horse while Yolanda watched? I would think the last place any of them would want to be is around horses. She says Bella had to give up her dream of competing in the Olympics because of Lyme. Then how was she able to ride then? I am almost positive Yolanda said to Brandi, who was also there, that Bella had to give up her dream to compete because she was unable to afford a second horse to have for practicing.

        She sure confuses the heck out of me! Thanks for your article, I must read the other two.

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      • The playing football is so suspect to me because I really highly doubt a school would put their insurance on the line if he was so sick and receiving treatments for LD as she claims. It is all very questionable. Thanks for reading!

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  2. I happen to have ” Chronic Lyme” I got it on Long Island in 1986. I’m 52 now. Back then my Drs gave me one round of antibiotics and sent me on my way. You are right, I had joint pains terribly, flu like symptoms and the bullseye. I have issues every now and again. I guess I’m lucky it’s not an all the time occurance. I have Lyme arthritis, neurological problems ( cat scan showed abnormalities on left side of brain) and have some heart issues. I live a good life, work, take care of my family, go on vacations, take Karate etc. Noone would know if they saw me. I get very fatigued AT TIMES, feel ill AT TIMES, hurt AT TIMES. The majority of my life is normal. Like I said I guess I’m one of the lucky ones, because Yolanda is suffering far worse than I. I wish her the best.

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    • What it sounds like you have it as I mention is issues post-Lyme Disease, just like people have with any illness or body issue (like a pretty bad broken bone may not ever be as strong), particularly if you diagnose it late, like arthritis. It isn’t that you have Chronic Lyme Disease, it is arthritis as a result of having Lyme Disease. The question with Yolanda is why it seems she didn’t even have Lyme Disease to begin with (her story line is questionable) and her treatments that are full of pseudoscience. She is certainly struggling with something, but I clearly have doubts about what she has presented.

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  3. Thank you for these well presented and researched Chronicles, I will definitely return to read more! After reading the three articles I kept remembering other scenes from past seasons, like when Yolanda put the instructor at a self defense class in a choke hold, or how she was able to drive and ride a bike on their trip to the Netherlands…and maybe I’m in the minority but if I was in the hospital the LAST think I would be thinking about would be posting selfies showing the IV’S etc….

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  4. Fascinating blog. I have a friend who was diagnosed about 20 years ago. She was not diagnosed quickly enough. In fact, it was she herself who brought up to her internist the possibility of lyme disease. She tested positive and was given antibiotic therapy. Unfortunately, by this time, it had gotten into her joints. She lived with a lot of pain and had knee surgery more than once.

    But she did improve and has a full life now. I agree with you. No way was she bitten in 2012 and then did all that she could do in the first season of RHOBH. My friend was bed ridden. I can remember being on the phone with her crying.

    I believe Yolanda was sick, but I don’t know with what. Look forward to your next installments. Healthy new year.

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  5. Hi there! Loving the blog. I work in an insurance related field and have what I would say is a reasonably large knowledge of Lyme Disease. Admittedly, this is the first article of yours I have read, so I am not sure if you cover this in upcoming articles. Have you explored the different testing that can be done to “diagnose” Lyme disease? Specifically, “Lyme disease” tests are so sensitive and very commonly produce false positives.

    The CDC only acknowledges a positive Lyme diagnosis if a specific two-tier testing is performed. Most people test for Lyme disease with a “Western Blot” test – and this produces positive results frequently. The CDC will only recognize the diagnosis if first you have a ELISA test.

    The CDC says if the ELISA test is negative – it is negative and no further testing is done. You do not have Lyme disease. However, if the ELISA is positive – a Western Blot can then be ordered only to confirm the diagnosis of Lyme. Most doctors order both tests to be performed at once, in the interest of saving time. Many many many people who claim to have Lyme have only a positive Western Blot test. Except, that since the ELISA is negative, the Western Blot does not count and they do not have Lyme disease!

    I would bet lots of money the Yolonda had a positive Western Blot and negative ELISA. AKA she does not have Lyme disease and is just telling people she does.

    Thought it was worth the mention!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks! I know about the testing and I believe she only recently put out in one of her blogs that she had Western Blot and I am willing to wager what you said it correct. I did not include it in any of the blogs because she hasn’t really mentioned it or I didn’t come across it from her. Thanks for pointing that out (I probably should have included that in an initial post)- that’s really invaluable to know! 🙂 Thanks again! 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

    • I would bet my dog that she never received a diagnosis of Lyme’s disease of any kind. She finally got one from Klinghart, the Lymie Guru and messiah.

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  6. i am no doctor, nor do I have any knowledge or experience with Lyme Disease. I do live in the South and I have been bitten by ticks enough to know when that happens, getting the little buggers off is tough. Since they get very large and gorged with blood if you don’t remove them quickly, I can’t imagine how anyone could not notice they are bitten–which is to say, have a tick attached and sucking their blood for an extended period before it detaches and falls off.

    I have wondered about Yolanda’s implants, as I read many years ago about similar symptoms women had with silicon leakage. It even led to silicon implants being banned for a while, if memory serves?

    I also read a couple of medical doctors weighing in on various issues with Yolanda’s assertions of her complications from Lyme, and one was particularly interesting to me because I always thought some of her symptoms sound a lot like going through menopause and just getting older–which I know about first hand.

    But most interesting was that one doctor discussed the use of long term cleansing/juicing. Remember that was a huge storyline with Yolanda her first season, with her lemon orchard and all that juicing. The doctor said that a fasting/juicing diet of lemons for even 5 to 7 days could be very damaging to a person’s metabolism and body chemistry because of the high acidity.

    Yolanda not only did this regiment for weeks, but repeatedly over long periods of time, as I remember. She also had her children on this grueling diet. That might explain how they got sick, and it would have nothing to do with ticks or Lyme Disease.

    Also a doctor mentioned that taking the IV treatment she was on for so long would also produce symptoms and side effects.

    [Both doctors said up front that they did not treat Yo nor had she ever been their patient.]

    LIke I said, I’m no doctor, but I have wondered if Yolanda’s lack of common sense and determination to remain youthful and model thin might be at the root of her obsession with finding a “cure”. She was so incredibly beautiful as a young model, I wonder if she is unable to accept she, like the rest of us, has limited control over our inevitable fate: aging. (When she finds a cure for that, we’ll all be grateful.)

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I read in a blog or possibly a response to a question that Yolanda stated she was diagnosed with ME/CFS. This was before she began to talk about her chronic Lyme disease. Many of her symptoms could definitely be related to or caused by Me/CFS. Maybe she felt that Lyme was a more recognized diagnosis?

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