HARRISON, N.Y. - Liz Karkoff said she'd already felt sick for years before she was first officially diagnosed with Lyme disease in September of 2009. Years later, she still takes medication to make sure she's symptom-free.
"I don't like to take too much medicine, but I still need to take antibiotics so I don't relapse for a second time," Karkoff said. "Thankfully now, I feel fine."
But Karkoff said "feeling fine" wasn't something she had the privilege to say in the past several years. As she continues her long battle with the effects of Lyme disease, Karkoff said she's become more aware and active about the illness.
Karkoff was first diagnosed with Lyme disease in 2009, years after she moved to Tarrytown with her husband. She said she loved the scenery, and most of all, gardening. But that hobby went away fast as Karkoff's illness continued to evolve.
"I became so tired," Karkoff said. "I started having random fevers, muscle pains, trouble sleeping, and the doctors couldn't pinpoint why."
Karkoff said she wasn't sure what was wrong with her, but she shrugged it off as a possible illness picked up from her new job at the time working with children at the West Harrison Public Library .
After being misdiagnosed with several different issues including stress, anxiety, and even carpal tunnel, Karkoff went to the Lyme Project in Mount Kisco to see Dr. Daniel Cameron.
Cameron was the first doctor to correctly diagnose the Lyme disease and helped put Karkoff on the path back to good health.
"It's very common to be diagnosed with one or several symptoms of Lyme disease in Westchester," Cameron said. "It's also sometimes difficult to diagnose. You can be in serious trouble if you don't clearly see the common rash."
In Karkoff's case, it wasn't completely clear until years after she first felt sick. But with Dr. Cameron's help, she started to see progress.
"I don't know what would have happened to me if I didn't find him," Karkoff said.
As she continues to recover from what became a years-long fight to figure out what was actually wrong with her, Karkoff said she has become a vocal proponent of Lyme disease awareness and research.
"I try to tell everyone I can about it," Karkoff said. "I hope I'm helping people. I don't want anyone to go through what I went through."
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