- Hardcover: 320 pages
- Publisher: Center Street (May 10 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9781455567065
- ISBN-13: 978-1455567065
- ASIN: 145556706X
- Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 3.2 x 24.1 cm
- Shipping Weight: 499 g
- Average Customer Review: 1 customer review
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #373,734 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Bite Me: How Lyme Disease Stole My Childhood, Made Me Crazy, and Almost Killed Me Hardcover – May 10 2016
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BITE ME is a must-read. It is riveting, personal, and well written. Its spiritual message is powerful and inspirational. With love all things are possible.―Russell Simmons
BITE ME is captivating. Ally recounts her experience battling misdiagnosis and a debilitating tormentor with a humor and power that can inspire us all. She gives a voice to others who are struggling.―Georgia May Jagger
Reading Ally's struggle of dealing with the debilitating effects of Lyme disease is a total inspiration. Her cheerful strength of will and determination to rise above the exhausting days of not knowing the way out proves once again that the human spirit can prevail in the most strenuous of circumstances.―Bryan Adams
This book will be very important at a time that Lyme disease meets NIH's eight characteristics of a worldwide pandemic. Thank you, sweet Ally, for daring to share your inspiring journey of strength, hope, and everyday determination to get well.―Yolanda Foster
BITE ME is humorous and suspenseful, and it holds your attention to the very last page. This is a story that will inspire you.―Tommy Mottola
A fascinating look at a disease that is often misdiagnosed and costs many people their sanity and lives. BITE ME is a story of courage. I highly recommend it.―Thalia Mottola
About the Author
ALLY HILFIGER is a producer, actress, artist,fashion designer, writer, and Lyme disease survivor. As a producer, she created and starred in Rich Girls for MTV, produced the feature film Proud, and was featured in Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf's and the documentary Dressed. As a designer, she spearheaded the women's clothing line NAHM. Ally is the daughter of fashion mogul and entrepreneur Tommy Hilfiger and sits on the board of the Global Lyme Alliance. She currently lives in Los Angeles.
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However! I strongly feel that someone with Ally's resources and access to top doctors and treatment protocols has a responsibility to do more than a half-baked memoir. Lyme sufferers are desperate for information and guidance on their journeys, they need well organized, researched and plain spoken info about their options. I was looking forward to gleaning useful information from her treatment so I might discuss with my doctor and apply it to my own journey and plan. Sadly, I got nothing of use.
Many celebrities believe that simply sharing a story is helping people and then produce things that aren't up to real world standards. It was a big miss that Ally didn't share specific or useful detail about the most unique aspect of her experience, which was receiving the best care in the world! I am so happy for her recovery and thrilled that her story ended well, but the nuance of that wasn't as helpful as some treatment info would have been. I wish Ally had tempered discussing in so much detail, basically, how lucky she is out of respect for the devastation many lyme sufferers experience, it often doesn't end well because most of us cannot afford the type of treatment she received, or convalesce on a beach with every need attended to.
To sum it up, the book was like spending time with someone who talks about themself endlessly and never thinks to ask you how you're doing. I sincerely hope that all proceeds of this book are donated to lyme sufferers, I would be heartbroken if I learned she had profited in any way.
In any case, leaping over the whining and complaints from a certain sector about all the attention given to (mainly female) celebrities speaking out against Lyme disease, as if it's okay to be a misogynist jerk to desperately ill people as long as they're "privileged" in certain tick-the-box ways (not having a terrible illness is *also* a privilege, ladies and gentlemen, maybe the most important one there is), it's nice to see Ally and others like her speak up about their experiences. If it takes a bunch of reality tv stars and other incredibly rich and good-looking people telling their stories to raise awareness, so much the better.
Perhaps the most depressing thing about Ally's story is how difficult a time she had getting diagnosed, despite having rich and powerful parents who did everything they could think of to help her. She was probably infected at the age of seven. Her mother not only saw the tick but saved it and took it in for analysis, but they were told that the results were "inconclusive," as was Ally's bloodwork, so obviously it couldn't be Lyme, despite the fact that the Hilfigers spent a lot of time in suburban Connecticut, the epicenter of the epidemic.
So when Ally started experiencing such severe joint and muscle pain that she could no longer sit still, and lost the ability to do basic math after previously being a stellar student, she was diagnosed as "learning disabled." It was clear that something that was very wrong with her all throughout her teens, so much so that she ended up being institutionalized for drug addiction (she was constantly smoking pot for the pain), but it took 11 years of illness and months of institutionalization before she was properly diagnosed with Lyme disease, plus co-infections. And then came the saga of treatment...
Hilfiger tells the story of her Lyme disease mixed in with the rest of her life, so there's plenty there about her acting and her fashion designing, which would probably be of more interest to other readers than to me. This is more a personal story than it is a story of Lyme disease as an entity, but there's plenty of information about the disease too, as well as the unpleasant decade of treatment Ally underwent following finally getting her diagnosis. Hopefully Hilfiger's celebrity will bring in readers who might not otherwise be interested in the disease but just want to read about what was going on behind the scenes of"Rich Girls," and who might learn a thing or two in the process. Like what to do and where to turn if your previously active and intelligent child develops a mysterious problem that leaves them confused, exhausted, and in pain for years on end, and everyone keeps insisting it's ADHD, learning disabilities, oppositional-defiance disorder (!!! How is this even a diagnosis!), anxiety, depression, an "aversive personality" (one of the diagnoses I received), etc. etc. etc.