Despite it only being week one, contestant Debbie Gibson has already overcome huge obstacles during her time on Dancing with the Stars!
The brand new season premiered Monday on ABC and viewers were astonished by Gibson’s first performance since being diagnosed with Lyme disease. “This is like a coming-out party. I’ve continued to perform here and there but I’ve been really scared to do something of this magnitude because I have unpredictable symptoms,” Debbie shared. “My nervous system was acting out yesterday. I didn’t sleep last night. It really tests your strength.”
“Today, it just feels like I haven’t slept in four days. But again, you know what, I’ve learned through this journey that everyone is going through something,” she explained after her first dance in the ballroom. “You can look at people and you just don’t know what they’re going through. So, you know, I’ve done more this month, in the past month, preparing for this show than I have in an entire year.”
The “Only in My Dreams” singer was diagnosed with Lyme disease back in 2013 after experiencing symptoms of extreme pain, weight loss, weakness and joint pain. She told PEOPLE that when she was offered the chance to participate on the show she was “going through the fire again,” but pushed through in hopes of inspiring those who are also struggling with their health.
“For anyone at home going through anything, I want to be here to say you don’t have to get stuck, you don’t have to curl up in a ball on your couch,” she shared. “You can live, you can get busy living.”