Living with Lyme – who else?

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SARASOTA – A Lyme diagnosis can be overwhelming. If you don’t catch it immediately, it’s a life-long journey of balancing stress and finding a treatment that works. It’s important to remember, you’re not alone.

“Lyme will steal everything from you and leave you at rock bottom, and not only at rock bottom, but you’re completely fighting for your life,” says Amy Hanneken.

She was happy, healthy, and successful, until her life changed in 2012. “I was about 84 pounds and I looked like the walking dead,” Hanneken says.

A port is what kept Hanneken alive, something she’ll have to wear for the rest of her life. “No one would choose this,” she says.

Carol Fisch didn’t choose it either. She was working on her doctorate when all of a sudden, her memory was gone. “I have a pretty high IQ, I’ve taught physicians, meanwhile there’s short range memory and recall issues,” says Fisch.

Two different stories, one diagnosis: Lyme disease. Each with different symptoms: headaches, muscle pain, intense chronic fatigue, and a common one, “I’m gonna have a Lyme moment here,” Hanneken laughs, short-term memory loss.

Each of us have a different treatment. “I do antibiotics, anti-virals, I have to do them carefully,” says Fisch. “I also do herbals, I use a frequency machine.”

“The immune globulin therapy has to be done every two weeks and it’s for life,” says Hanneken.

All of us share the same emotional pain. “I think it’s especially difficult for those of us who were very, very active people participating in many things, trying to accomplish many things,” says Fisch.

“It’s an invisible illness,” says Hanneken. “You can’t see the nerve pain, you can’t see the muscle pain, you can’t see the joint pain and the arthritis and we get judged we get misjudged.”

It’s through each other that Fisch and Hanneken stay strong. “If you don’t have that support system it’s hard to keep going and to keep fighting,” says Hanneken. But you have to. You have to fight if you want to survive.

“Don’t lose hope, don’t let people who misjudge you get you down, just keep looking for the answers,” says Hanneken.

Remember, we are not alone.

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Nicole Sommavilla
Multimedia journalist Nicole Sommavilla is a recent graduate from Ithaca College. Nicole was born and raised in Westchester, New York before she made the move to Florida. Being new to area, she loves meeting people and exploring the Suncoast. In her free time Nicole enjoys working out, being with her friends and family, and exploring the natural lands that surround her. Nicole has always loved writing and storytelling, which is how she discovered her passion for news. If you have a story idea or a news tip, feel free to email her at nicole.sommavilla@snntv.com. You can also follow her on Twitter and Facebook for updates!