Lyme disease kept Avril Lavigne bedridden for months. While the Canadian singer suffered in silence for most of the time, she tweeted a message to a fan a few weeks back that went viral and revealed to the world that she had long been ill.
During her illness, there were rumors that she and husband Chad Kroeger of Nickelback had split or were about to split. Kroeger denied this, but never mentioned that his wife was suffering in the throes of lyme disease.
Now Avril Lavigne is talking about her experience with lyme disease. She told People Magazine recently that her symptoms were debilitating.
"I could barely eat, and when we went to the pool, I had to leave and go lie in bed. My friends asked, 'What's wrong?' I didn't know. I had no idea a bug bite could do this," says Lavigne. "I was bedridden for five months."
Lavigne believes that her lyme disease was caused by a tick bite several months ago. The Centers for Disease Control describes the symptoms that can come from undetected lyme disease as incredibly difficult.
In its early stages typical symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue, and a characteristic skin rash, But if left untreated, infection can spread to joints, the heart, and the nervous system.
"I felt like I couldn't breathe, I couldn't talk and I couldn't move," Avril Lavigne says. "I thought I was dying. There were definitely times I couldn't shower for a full week because I could barely stand. It felt like having all your life sucked out of you."
Most cases of Lyme disease can be treated successfully with a few weeks of antibiotics. But if undetected, some patients report recurrent pain in their bones, joints or periarticular soft tissues. It can develop into full-blown arthritis.
Even now, Avril Lavigne says she is not quite fully recovered from her bout of lyme disease.
"I'm 80 percent better," she says. "This was a wake-up call. I really just want to enjoy life from here on out."