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'Duck Dynasty's' Mary Kate Robertson Reveals Her Family's Lyme Disease Battle

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The effects of chronic illness can be devastating not only for individuals, but for entire families. “Duck Dynasty” star Mary Kate Robertson, the wife of John Luke Robertson, shared the painful reality of her family’s decade-long battle with Lyme disease in a blog post that reveals just how physically and emotionally devastating chronic illness can be on a family.

Twenty-one-year-old college student Robertson, whose grandfather-in-law is “Duck Dynasty” patriarch Phil Robertson, wrote on her blog that her dad was diagnosed with Lyme disease after a family trip to Walt Disney World when she was in fourth grade. “I remember my parents just being glad to be given any diagnosis but none of us really knew what we were about to be in for,” Robertson wrote.

By the time she was in middle school, she, her mom and her sister had tested positive for Lyme disease as well. She said although being diagnosed didn’t really faze her at the time, she remembers fighting with her dad a lot, her parents arguing more and her sister not having the energy to play with her. Her parents searched all over for a doctor, and Robertson said one of the countless treatments her dad tried caused him to be legally blind for a time.

In high school, Robertson started feeling the affects of Lyme — namely, fatigue and depression.

It didn’t matter how much I slept I was tired. I started going to a doctor more regularly then and he told me it was most likely triggered by the stress of transferring schools. So basically stress is a trigger that makes me more tired — when I’m tired I can’t get things done that I need to get done which makes me stressed, which makes me more tired. What a wicked cycle. But I pushed through. Those last years two years of high school I struggled with some depression but didn’t owe it to Lyme. I just didn’t want to believe that Lyme was a big problem in my life. I thought if I ignored it, it would just go away.


Today, Robertson said she is healthy enough to be active and do things, but it always comes with a price. “Everything is harder. It can just leave you kind of bed-ridden,” she wrote. “You can have some good hours during the day, where everyone you know thinks you’re fine, but those other 20 hours are where you pay for those few good ones.”

The entire family has been to doctors all over the country though Robertson said no one in her family is much healthier. Lately, she said, there have been “a lot of tears.”

Everyone carries the weight of their own illness, but also the weight of each others’. It’s affected every aspect of life. My parents’ marriage and my own marriage. My dad had to quit working probably 10 years ago now. We wonder if my sister will be able to push through nursing school even though she has gotten straight A’s and honors in all she’s ever done. I’ve heard my dad ask to go on to heaven countless times. I feel like I’m living in a body that won’t cooperate with me…it won’t do its job.

Robertson said her faith helps her cope, and urged anyone who knows someone with a chronic illness to encourage them and let them know you love them. She also warned readers about the importance of taking Lyme disease seriously.

“I hope we’ll all be a little kinder to one another. I hope we’ll consider the fact that we don’t always know what others are going through. I hope we’ll choose to speak kind and uplifting words to everyone and less words that tear down,” Robertson wrote.

View this post on Instagram

full heart❤️

A post shared by Mary Kate Robertson (@marykaterob) on

In recent months, Shania Twain, Alec Baldwin and Yolanda Hadid have also come forward to talk about the challenges they experienced due to Lyme disease. Make sure you know how to protect yourself from ticks; check out our guide to the summer’s Lyme outbreak.

You can read Robertson’s entire blog post on The Little Duck Wife.

Photo courtesy of Mary Kate Robertson’s Instagram

Originally published: September 3, 2017
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