Note: A shorter version of this story was recently published on Medium. I added it here as many of my new subscribers may be wondering about my background, who I am, and why I write about the topics I do. Here’s a little about me.
I’ve started over several times in life. Not because I wanted to reinvent myself but because unexpected events changed my path and led me on a new journey.
With each beginning, I chose to change the ending, despite the story that was unfolding.
During these times of change, I learned to find and harness my innate power. The power to live a life full of hope, opportunity, and happiness, despite the circumstances I faced.
I believe we all have this power, whether we realize it or not.
The Formative Years
I was raised in the small but beautiful state of Rhode Island, surrounded by all the ocean offers. The beach was my summer playground. The sights and sounds of the ocean still bring me joy and peace. There’s nothing better than walking barefoot in the sand, looking for sea glass, listening to the crash of waves and children’s laughter.
Wherever you are in RI you’re never far from a body of water.
I’m blessed to call it home.
I’m from an Italian family that taught me the importance of kindness, faith, perseverance, and of course, how to cook amazing food. The kitchen is the heart of an Italian home. Some of the happiest memories are from times spent preparing or eating homemade specialties with my parents, grandparents, and extended family. In an Italian home, friends become family, and the dinner table is always ready to accommodate a few more.
It’s the Italian way.
In my 20s and 30s, I was a marketing executive who learned the art of storytelling. I directed teams, managed large marketing budgets, and helped build brands, from tech start-ups to large international companies.
I had the opportunity to hone my craft as a writer, content creator, and marketer, working with some of the most talented people I know.
At the same time, I began fighting an invisible illness that would derail my life but ultimately make me the person I am today.
It took more than two decades to learn the cause of my chronic illness. I was dismissed and misdiagnosed by dozens of specialists for two decades before learning it was Lyme and other little-known vector-borne diseases, such as Babesiosis and Bartonella, that had been at the root of my disabling symptoms. Without treatment, the diseases dug in, leading to a rare autoimmune disease I’m still fighting.
In my 40s, while my health struggle continued I became a single mom after an unexpected divorce. Turns out some people are not cut out to support someone with a chronic illness.
Facing many unknowns on my own, I refocused my efforts on what mattered — raising my son. I knew I would figure the rest out.
What a blessing that time was! Watching my son learn and grow has been the greatest joy in my life. While it wasn’t always easy being ill and being present, I embraced every moment and cherished each day.
We have had an incredible bond because of this, and I encourage every parent to fully participate in these fleeting years. You don’t get them back!
When I thought I had things figured out and the path was clear, life threw another curveball — one that would teach me incredible life lessons about resilience, strength, gratitude, and personal transformation.
That story still continues, and I’ll write more about it at another time.
Who Am I Today?
I’m a strong, happy, grateful woman living a mindful, authentic life despite my challenges.
I’m hopeful, faithful, and proud of the life I’ve created for my son and me.
I’m a homeschooled Mom helping a smart, kind teenager uncover his gifts and talents while watching with pride as he becomes the gentleman my father taught him to be.
I’m a Realtor who helps people find their next destination, whether it’s a first home, a vacation home, or an investment property.
I’m a patient advocate raising awareness for those suffering from invisible illnesses. My mission is to give hope to those who don’t have answers for their mysterious symptoms.
I want the millions of people currently suffering from Chronic Lyme, Long Covid, ME/CFS, Fibromyalgia, and other invisible illnesses to know it’s possible to find a path forward.
I did after 25 years.
I’m a survivor, strong and resilient, quiet and thoughtful, kind but fierce.
I’m a Storyteller
I began telling stories when I was 12, thanks to a teacher who welcomed my creative writing abilities. It was an easier way for me to express myself, especially in a large family that had many loud voices.
Writing became a passion and a place to explore my thoughts and ideas.
I have a degree in Business and Marketing and quickly learned that the ability to write well and communicate effectively would carry me wherever I needed to go.
I wrote and told stories throughout my marketing career. I developed advertising and public relations campaigns and wrote video scripts for various products and companies. I developed websites, product brochures, and promotional materials before social media became the window to the world.
It all came down to words on a page and the ability to reach diverse audiences.
Today, I’m writing stories of hope, healing, and change.
I Live Mindfully
I believe stories are the essence of who we are as people. They provide a platform for personal growth throughout our lives.
I began sharing my story to encourage and inspire others to find their voice and create their best life, regardless of their circumstances.
The basis of my work today is my 25-year journey navigating illness and loss, success and failure.
From coaches and mentors, I learned to live mindfully and transform my life in meaningful ways, skills I help others learn.
I believe in the ability to grow, change, and heal.
I believe everyone benefits from a supportive community.
I believe every story matters.
By sharing my story and advocating for change, I help others avoid the pitfalls I experienced in my medical journey and find meaning even during dark times.
Hope and healing are possible.
I began sharing my story recently to raise awareness about invisible illnesses and connect with more people who are struggling to overcome a difficult life event.
I’ve written about my experiences within a small patient community for many years, but as the narrative of long COVID gained traction in the mainstream press and across social media platforms, it became clear the time was right to shine a light on a growing problem.
While there are an estimated 2 million patients with Chronic Lyme, and more than 150,000 new patients each year, when you add Long Covid patients to the mix, the number grows quickly.
Both patient populations experience similar symptoms and setbacks, so when I began writing about my experience more widely, I started hearing from patients outside the Lyme community. It was clear the time was now.
I also realized I was ready to share my story. For years, I avoided talking about my illness. I knew no one wanted to hear about my misfortune. It’s human nature.
When my son became ill, I did talk about it. It was a way for me to process what was happening, but again, most people were uninterested. It became clear it was an uncomfortable subject. Friends and acquaintances didn’t know what to say or how to react. They didn’t understand, and they couldn’t put themselves in my shoes.
That’s when I turned to the Lyme community and the hundreds of parents and patients that were interested. Strangers from around the world were willing to talk with me, share their experiences with me, and help in any way they could. They offered support when I needed it most.
That’s when I knew that when the time was right, I would write, speak and advocate for others. I would pass on what I had learned and offer my support to those still hurting and trying to find their way.
The other reason I’m sharing my story is a very personal one - I promised my father before he died I would step out of my comfort zone and write what I now know. I recently wrote about his remarkable life, his request and what I learned from him. If you haven't read that post, you can find it here.
No one is immune to life’s challenges, but how we respond makes the difference between surviving and thriving. I choose to thrive.
I hope you consider joining me as I expand a community of hopeful minds. I call it The Power of Change.
The Power of Change is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, join here.
Thank you for taking the time to read and support my work. I look forward to connecting with everyone who has chosen to spend a few minutes each week with me.
If you enjoy reading, please say hello and tell me a little about yourself. I’d love to know what resonates with you and what you’d like to read more of.
You can also find me on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.
For patients with questions about Lyme and other vector-borne diseases, please reach out here. I’m always happy to connect.
A true storyteller
Thanks for this. You definitely are a writer. 😉