Shania Twain opens up about her battle with Lyme disease in the early 2000s and reveals just how serious her health problems really were. During her new Netflix documentary Shania Twain: Not Just A Girl, which premiered on July 26, the singer – who is in the middle of her Up! Tour at the time of her diagnosis – shared the horrific symptoms she was suffering from after being bitten by a tick while horseback riding in 2003, including blackouts and memory lapses.
Twain is just one of many celebrities who have come forward to say they have been affected by the invisible illness, including Yolanda Hadid, Avril Lavigne and Kelly Osbourne. Unlike most people affected by the disease, Twain is among the 10% to 20% of people who develop long-term health problems despite treatment for the disease, leaving the country icon wondering if it would ever return.
Shania Twain suffered millisecond blackouts and dizzy spells
In Not Just a Girl, Shania Twain explained how much she suffered before the disease was diagnosed. “My symptoms were pretty scary because before I was diagnosed I was very dizzy on stage. I lost my balance, I was scared of falling off the stage,” the queen of country pop said (via Page Six). “I’ve had these very, very, very millisecond outages, but on a regular basis, every minute or every 30 seconds.”
To make matters worse, Twain was diagnosed with dysphonia, a type of vocal cord paralysis suspected to be linked to her Lyme infection. The “Man! The I Feel Like A Woman singer treated her dysphonia with multiple throat surgeries and therapies, according to the Daily Mail. “My voice was never the same,” she recalls. “I thought I’d lost my voice forever. I thought that was it, I would never sing again.”
The singer spoke to People about her experience of having open throat surgery in 2020, which she described as “very scary” and which she claimed had pretty drastic results. “My voice has changed. My speaking voice is definitely the biggest effort. Sometimes I get a little scratchy… It’s actually easier to sing,” she explained. “I have more power now when I sing. I have more character, I think.”