Allison Koczur

Allison- A Lyme Warrior
You know how you know your own body than anyone? You can tell when something is wrong? That was me for a full year as doctors tried to figure out the source of why I wasn’t feeling well. “Sinus infection” or “false negative mono” were the common ones, until even those diagnoses didn’t explain my symptoms. There were 217 vials of blood, two CT scans, four specialists, 1 MRI, and 1 LLMD - until I finally received the diagnosis of Lyme Disease, in December 2010.
“Well... now what?”
I had no idea I’d be starting the journey no one ever should have to take and that my Mom would be taking it with me with her own diagnosis. I grew up quicker than any 16 year old should have to. I missed half of my junior year and half of my senior year of high school. I’ll be 27 in November, but I can’t remember much from before I was 15. It’s like I’ve had complete years of memories ripped from my brain. I made it through college, but had my dream job of working at Disney World ripped away from me due to a relapse after I moved. There has been so, so much loss. But there has also been so much I gained from this. Knowledge. Friendships. Empathy. Humility. It’s been 10 years of growth, of faith, of uncertainty... but also of clarity. When you are diagnosed with a life long illness, at the age of 16, you quickly learn what is important in life.
I am now facing what may be relapse number three. It’s taken a while for me to accept that and it’s even more strange to write. If you looked at me, you’d never know I am sick. You’d never know the pain I’m in and the brain fog I experience daily. I think I’ve always figured if I pretend to be ok, I can fool myself into feeling ok. Mind over matter, right? I’m not sure what lies ahead in this possible new relapse. But I do know this: I will fight. I will continue to advocate. I will come out on the other side of this fight. And if you’ve been diagnosed, you will too.
“Happiness can be found in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.”