MORRIS COUNTY - Rachael Chertok is a typical high school senior, but her journey there was different than most others.
“Freshman year I was in and out, sophomore year I pretty much wasn’t there after around November or December, I was on home instruction. And then I was trying to get back junior year and now I’m back home more and more senior year.”
Rachael has Lyme disease.
“I could barely walk down the stairs, I had severe skin sensitivity,” says Rachel. “I could only wear oversized clothing because everything that touched my skin hurt really bad. I was pretty much bed ridden every single day.”
She dealt with those symptoms for almost three years, as her Lyme went undiagnosed. She was tested for the disease but the tests came back negative. So her symptoms persisted until one doctor noticed she had Bell's Palsey, another major symptom of Lyme disease and used an Igenex test on Rachael. That test came up positive. Her mother Barbara still gets emotional thinking about what her daughter went through.
“I think what was really hard was to see a young girl who was at the top of her game,” says Barbara. “She was a dancer for her whole life. She was so excited and enthusiastic about starting high school and it was nipped in the bud.”