The 46-year-old ex-reality star let listeners know via his wife Trista Sutter's podcast “Better Etc.,” on Tuesday, May 25, that he was officially diagnosed with Lyme disease that was triggered by high levels of mold in his body. “It seems to be that what happened is that my immune system was weakened through exposures to toxins and especially to mold," the veteran firefighter revealed.
“There are other people in the fire academy that probably had the same exposures who aren’t dealing with these exposures because their genetics are stronger, they’re able to get rid of the toxins easier,” he continued.
As the father-of-two is in the midst of his battle with Lyme disease, he also tested positive for COVID-19 and Epstein-Barr virus, an illness that causes mononucleosis.
Sutter said that unfortunately his many years as a firefighter played a major factor in his diagnoses. “On top of being exposed to mold, I was also dealing with these long days, with exhaustion, dehydration; all these other things that weaken your immune system. So my immune system was weakened, making it difficult to fight off infections, or what it seems like, allowing prior infections that my immune system had been able to sort of suppress and keep down, to resurface,” he said.
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This has been a battle that the former Bachelorette contestant has been fighting for over six months and on that has taken an extreme toll on his family. His wife, Trista, explained, “It’s been hard. It’s a really difficult thing to see the person you love most in the world struggling. And he’s a big, strong guy, and oof — to see him get emotional and feel hopeless, in that all I could really do is advocate for him, so that’s what I did.”
Ryan also revealed that instead of following the traditional route of Lyme disease patients undergoing a “pretty heavy dose” of antibiotics, the brave star is deciding to take another approach. “What I’m doing is avoiding, as best I can, gluten, dairy and refined sugars. I’ve added a ton more fruits and vegetables to my diet, things that are easily digestible," he explained.
"I’ve gone on specific diets and things to try to alleviate a lot of those things so my internal organs can function more efficiently and begin to fight back some of these viruses and bacteria that they were able to hold back prior to going through this last year.”
Sutter has been extremely transparent about the fight for his health. In November, his wife told followers that he had been battling a "mystery illness" but that it was most definitely not cancer.
The two have been married since 2003 after meeting on the first season of The Bachelorette. Together they share two children, Maxwell, 13, and Blakesley, 12.