Bachelorette stars Trista and Ryan Sutter open up about his Lyme disease battle


Bachelorette stars Trista and Ryan Sutter open up about his debilitating Lyme disease battle: ‘For so long I was only thinking about how to survive the day’

Ryan Sutter has opened up about his debilitating battle with Lyme disease, following his 2021 diagnosis. 

The Bachelorette star, 47 – who’s been wed to Trista Sutter, 49, since 2003 – revealed that the illness ‘took over’ his life, stating: ‘For so long I was only thinking about how to survive the day.’ 

In an interview with People, the former football player admitted that he did not have suicidal thoughts, but began to ‘sympathize with people who would rather kill themselves than live through something’ due to his exhausting list of symptoms. 

Candid: Ryan Sutter, 47, has opened up about his debilitating battle with Lyme disease, revealing that the illness 'took over' his life; Pictured with wife Trista Sutter, 49, in 2019

Candid: Ryan Sutter, 47, has opened up about his debilitating battle with Lyme disease, revealing that the illness ‘took over’ his life; Pictured with wife Trista Sutter, 49, in 2019

The reality TV star – who shares kids Max, 14, and Blakesley, 13, with Trista – began experiencing symptoms in March 2020, when he started to feel ‘really really drained.’ 

He started sleeping for 16 hours a day as his afflictions continued to grow: ‘My body hurt, I had zero energy and even getting up from the couch seemed impossible. And then, it just started spiraling rapidly,’ he stated.  

The couple went on to consult a variety of doctors about his deteriorating state, including a rheumatologist who told Sutter he had ‘high levels of antinuclear antibodies’ indicating a possible autoimmune disease. 

Difficult: 'For so long I was only thinking about how to survive the day' he said, adding that he began to 'sympathize with people who would rather kill themselves than live through something'

Difficult: ‘For so long I was only thinking about how to survive the day’ he said, adding that he began to ‘sympathize with people who would rather kill themselves than live through something’

He was then ruled out for lupus, cancer, and other conditions, which left him ‘back at square one,’ his wife revealed, adding, ‘It was so frustrating.’ 

A year after his symptoms began, he was finally diagnosed with Lyme disease – a bacterial infection that can cause extreme fatigue, joint pain, and headaches.

‘I’d always felt like I could persevere through anything. But I couldn’t persevere through this,’ he shared. 

He was told he is likely to have ‘mold in his body’ from his years as a firefighter, which can enable dormant infections to activate. 

Long journey: Sutter - who shares kids Max, 14, and Blakesley, 13, with Trista - began experiencing symptoms in March 2020, when he started to feel 'really really drained' and sleeping for up to 16 hours a day. He was diagnosed with Lyme a year later

Long journey: Sutter – who shares kids Max, 14, and Blakesley, 13, with Trista – began experiencing symptoms in March 2020, when he started to feel ‘really really drained’ and sleeping for up to 16 hours a day. He was diagnosed with Lyme a year later

Ryan is now fighting back against the illness with an atypical approach, including  infrared sauna therapy and bee venom therapy, which consists of him stinging himself with honeybees ‘three times every other day.’

‘The bee venom weakens the bacteria,’ his doctor, Jill Carnahan says.  

The firefighter appears to see a silver lining after all: ‘I feel like my life is coming back. And that’s been really encouraging,’ he said, adding, ‘The tide is turning, and I’m feeling better. And I appreciate the little things more now. It’s a perspective change.’

Meanwhile his wife – who picked him over other suitors in the first season of The Bachelorette in 2003 – praised him for being ‘so strong’ and, adding ‘I know we can get through anything.’ 

Silver Lining: Following his diagnosis and after starting to fight back against the disease with an atypical approach that includes bee venom therapy, the firefighter now sees a silver lining: 'I feel like my life is coming back'

Silver Lining: Following his diagnosis and after starting to fight back against the disease with an atypical approach that includes bee venom therapy, the firefighter now sees a silver lining: ‘I feel like my life is coming back’

WHAT IS LYME DISEASE?

Lyme disease is caused by a bacteria that is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected black-legged ticks.

The most common symptoms of the disease are fever, headache, fatigue and a skin rash called erythema migrans.

The disease can typically be treated by several weeks of oral antibiotics.

But if left untreated, the infection can spread to the joints, heart and nervous symptoms and be deadly.  

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU ARE INFECTED?

During the first three to 30 days of infection, these symptoms may occur:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle and joint aches
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Erythema migrans (EM) rash 

The rash occurs in approximately 80 per cent of infected people.

It can expand to up to 12 inches (30 cm), eventually clearing and giving off the appearance of a target or a ‘bull’s-eye’.

Later symptoms of Lyme disease include:

  • Severe headaches and neck stiffness
  • Additional rashes
  • Arthritis with joint pain and swelling
  • Facial or Bell’s palsy
  • Heart palpitations
  • Problems with short-term memory
  • Nerve pain 

Source: CDC

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