The star of Southern Charm claims that on January 30, years after being prescribed opioids to alleviate chronic pain resulting from his long-term struggle with Lyme disease, her 32-year-old sibling accidentally overdosed on fentanyl and died.
“My brother hated talking about his illness” she stated in a People interview that was released on November 1.
“So many people, even in his close circle, didn’t know about his Lyme.” Olivia Flowers opens up about his brother’s fight with Lyme disease in a never-before-seen manner.
What happened to Olivia on Southern Charm?
Olivia Flowers’ brother Conner died of Lyme disease. Olivia stated that Conner’s “debilitating” Lyme disease symptoms started when he was fifteen years old.
She recalled that “Conner was just told over and over, it’s all in your head, you’re fine'” and was instead given painkillers and medication for his accompanying anxiety, even though the family promptly sought assistance from a variety of medical professionals.
“He started depending, at a very young age, on this prescription medicine to feel normal,” Olivia recalled. “And we as a family started to see this toll it took on his body.”
What exactly is Lyme disease? And how did it take its toll on Conner?
The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention state that the borrelia bacteria, which causes Lyme disease, is typically spread by biting an infected tick.
If treatment is not received, symptoms might include severe infections of the heart and neurological system in addition to fever, headaches, and exhaustion.
Olivia claims that as Conner battled his symptoms, he developed an addiction to the prescription drug he believed to be beneficial.
Olivia added that her brother’s illness had caused such severe damage to his health that “not only was he getting treatment for Lyme, but he was in rehab dealing with getting off this medicine” until he finally found a physician who could help him with his condition.
“Nobody wanted to get better more than Conner did,” she shared. “It was just such a hard time. We are very, very close as a family.
We were all very involved and rallied around him. But for years he was just in and out of rehab, trying so hard to get on the other side of this.”
Olivia went on, “People when they hear words like ‘rehab’ or ‘drugs,’ they assume the worst. But these weren’t substances he turned to for partying. This was medicine. This is what made him feel normal.”
A few weeks before he passed away, the Bravo star claimed that Conner was “completely clean” during a visit with his family at the recovery centre in Arizona.
Olivia said, “He was in the best shape I’d seen him in years. He had huge dreams that he wanted to accomplish. And he was talking about his plans to move to Dallas, Texas, where he already had jobs lined up.”
A week before Conner turned thirty-three, in late January, the siblings were scheduled to get together for supper at the family’s South Carolina home. Conner, though, never made it.
When her brother passed away, Olivia remarked, “It was just so crazy. We were on the phone not even an hour earlier. And then… he’s gone.”
Olivia revealed that Conner suffered a deadly recurrence. “So again, to hear he died of a fentanyl overdose, there’s immediately going to be this assumption that he was partying,” she said. “Conner wasn’t like that. This was his means to survive.”
Calling the loss “heartbreaking,” Olivia added, “There are these holes in the healthcare system, and my brother fell into one.”