Ally Hilfiger is opening up about her struggle with Lyme disease -- and the oh-so Hollywood way that she asked her designer dad, Tommy Hilfiger, to have her tested for it.
The onetime star of the short-lived MTV reality show "Rich Girls" released her memoirs, "Bite Me: How Lyme Disease Stole My Childhood, Made Me Crazy, and Almost Killed Me," on May 10. In the book, Ally explains how she landed in a psych ward before she was finally diagnosed with Lyme disease.
"For about a month I started to unravel and it was basically a psychotic breakdown caused by the Lyme disease entering my brain and the stress of the TV show and parents divorcing," she writes. "[My dad] didn't know what to do. I couldn't even function. It was crazy, it was so intense. I kept telling him that I was sick. He wasn't getting the message."
So that's when Ally decided to take extreme measures to get her point across.
Explains the 31 year old, "I got out of bed, grabbed a silver tray off a table, went into the bathroom, defecated on it, and handed it to him. 'You gotta get this tested,' I said."
At least some of Ally's wild antics over the years -- remember when she had a meltdown while trying to make a burrito on "Rich Girls"? -- can be attributed to Lyme disease, which has a wide variety of symptoms ranging from joint and muscle pain to cognitive impairment, depression and even psychosis.
Tommy's daughter also dished on her health issues, which started when she was just 7 years old, while promoting her book on the "Today" show on May 9.
"Oh, I can't even count [the number of times I was tested], and I had multiple misdiagnoses as well," she told hosts Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford.
"I started with a lot of joint pain, joints and muscles, sore throats and headaches, and then the symptoms sort of died down," Ally recalled. "Then I had this crazy snowboarding accident in which I dislocated my hip in Austria … and it seemed to have possibly flared up symptoms, and it went to cognitive issues. It went cognitively."
"I stopped being able to read sentences, [I had] memory [loss] -- so many strange things along with physical symptoms including nausea," she continued. "The pain went up so drastically and dramatically that I would cry, and my parents tried to do everything. They brought me to so many doctors at Harvard and Yale. They flew me across the country, put me in baths and gave me massages. They did everything that they could and there were no answers."
It took more than a decade of suffering for Ally to finally get the answers she and her family were looking for.
"When I finally got diagnosed when I was 19 years old, I was so relieved [because my illness] had a name," she said on the "Today" show. "I was not clinically, psychologically ill -- I knew that. But I knew that I had had a very scary breakdown. I was [institutionalized], and that was my worst nightmare. It was really scary."
Sadly, the antibiotics used to treat Lyme disease caused Ally's symptoms to flare up worse, which lead to a 7-year "merry-go-round" of periods of good health followed by periods of extreme illness for the stylist.
Fortunately, she's now found some relief by changing her diet and living a lower stress lifestyle.
Ally is hardly the only star to battle Lyme disease: Avril Lavigne, Yolanda Foster and Debbie Gibson have also publicly struggled with the illness in recent years.
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