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Teen punk Avril Lavigne has been notably out of the spotlight for several months and now she's explaining why: she's been struggling with Lyme disease.
In an exclusive interview with People magazine, Lavigne says things took a turn for the worse last October while she was in Las Vegas to celebrate her 30th birthday. It was shortly after that trip that she was diagnosed with Lyme disease, a disease spread by ticks which can cause symptoms ranging from fever and fatigue to joint pain, neck stiffness, and memory loss.
"I felt like I couldn't breathe, I couldn't talk and I couldn't move," Lavigne says. "I thought I was dying."
Lavigne had not been very active since April 2014, when she released the music video for her song "Hello Kitty." Then, in December, a fan account on Twitter shared a screenshot of a direct message in which the singer said, "I feel bad because I haven't been able to say anything to the fans to let them [know] why I've been absent. I'm not feeling well. I'm having some health issues. So please keep me in your prayers."
At the time, Lavigne did not speak any further about those "health issues," except to deny rumors that she was in rehab just before Christmas. On the cover of People, Lavigne says she's now feeling "80 percent better."
Lavigne's mother moved into her home in Ontario, Canada, to help and while her husband Chad Kroeger was touring with Nickelback at the time, the magazine says he was there as much as possible. Lavigne says she thinks the tick bite that caused the infection happened around a year ago.
"There were definitely times I couldn't shower for a full week because I could barely stand," she says. "It felt like having all your life sucked out of you."
Lyme disease is treated with antibiotics, but people are often not diagnosed with Lyme disease until after they've had it several months, which makes treatment much harder.
In America, 27,203 people were diagnosed with Lyme disease in 2013. Other notable diagnoses include Alec Baldwin, Parker Posey, Jamie Lynn Sigler, and the author Amy Tan. Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Yolanda Foster has also been suffering from chronic Lyme disease for the past three years. On Monday, she was forced to walk out of a taping of the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills reunion show due to a flare-up of her symptoms. Foster has previously said that the disease has robbed her of her ability to read because she "can't process information or any stimulation for that matter."
Now that Lavigne has her Lyme disease mostly under control, she's getting back to work. Lavigne says she'll release a new sing, "Fly," later this month in support of the Special Olympics.