It was a year until Moynihan was officially diagnosed but by that time it was too late. The bacteria had already taken hold on all parts of her body"neurological, skeletal, muscular and cognitive.
"Projectile vomiting was the first symptom. Then dizziness out of the blue. Then flu-like symptoms and the chills; it would be 75 degrees and I was huddled in a blanket by the fire. Four months in, the joint pain in my feet was bad to the point where I couldn't walk. Things just kept progressing and it seemed every month something new would develop," said Moynihan. "I had so much anxiety I couldn't do my job, I was losing my temper so easily, not able to concentrate or focus, couldn't understand things I read. By six months I was pretty much bedridden until a neighbor said I could still have Lyme Disease, even if I didn't test within CDC standards to prescribe antibiotics."
Five years later, she now suffers from chronic Lyme Disease, a direct result of late diagnosis. An English teacher at BH-BL middle school, she said she saw students in and out of class or not feeling well, and it prompted her to organize a committee to make the student body aware of the dangers of the debilitating disease that took over her life.
"I didn't want this happening to other people; it's so horrible and our community is infested with ticks," said Moynihan.
Moynihan works with Ahern's father and arranged to have her speak to middle schoolers on Monday, May 17, and Thursday, May 20. Ahern said telling her story is a natural next step for her.
"Where I'm from a lot of people live in the middle of nowhere, really rural areas; a lot of people, especially the younger generation, to a certain extent they think they're invincible and that these things don't happen to upper middle class society where there's good health care, but it's such a horrible shocking disease and it can happen," said Ahern. "I need to do my part to prevent people from going through this, spread awareness and do my best to get the word out."