Former teen idol Debbie Gibson told fans in a blog post Wednesday, April 16, that she is battling Lyme disease. After enduring harsh comments regarding her skeletal appearance, the singer, 43, decided to open up about her health issue and urged readers to "never judge… anyone!"
"Last year, I was diagnosed with Lyme disease," Gibson wrote. "It is an elusive disease that disguises itself as many other things and creates a lot of pain and discomfort along the way." She further explained, "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!'"
Gibson added that she then began experiencing "nerve pain and muscle fatigue in a way I never before had." The "Shake Your Love" singer continued: "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."
Her West Coast doctors tested her for "everything under the sun" -- except for Lyme disease, which typically is an East Coast-specific illness. Despite going on meds, her condition continued to worsen. "During the next several months, I would continue to cycle in and out of this flu like state," she shared. "I lacked vital energy… a shell of myself."
To keep up with her weight loss, Gibson intentionally ate fatty foods to help build strength and body mass. "At times, my boyfriend would insist I eat some pasta and butter, even though I did not feel great doing it," she recalled. "'You need to gain weight,' he would say. My spine was frail and unprotected. He was right." Yet, the fat consumption eventually affected her gall bladder and created "nearly debilitating stabbing pain. It was hard to breathe," she shared, "let alone sing."
Gaunt, frail, and extremely sick, the former Celebrity Apprentice star said she got Botox injections to help bolster her wrinkled face and more -- but those procedures "wreaked havoc on my physical and mental state." Gibson added, "I will never put this or any other toxin into my body for vanity reasons again."
After months of struggle, Gibson finally found a doctor who started treating her for Lyme disease. "I remember sitting in his office, despondent," she said of her specialist, Dr. Joseph Sciabarassi. "By this point, my cognitive thinking had been affected… my sense of direction, sleep, moods, stamina, muscles and joints. And, I had this sunken in look and dark circles under my eyes."
After months of treatment, Gibson felt ready to head to South America to perform. "I was painfully aware of my appearance," she shared. "I am an advocate of being lean and healthy and toned. Not skeletal." While sharing her adventures and concerts in Chile with fans, Gibson unfortunately was called out about her appearance. "I would come across comments about my weight and appearance. Some were just plain mean and ignorant," she recalled of what prompted her to share her journey with Lyme disease.
The "Foolish Beat" singer concluded her post by pleading, "I want to urge you all… NEVER JUDGE… ANYONE! You never know what someone is going through. These comments hurt the people writing them… not me."