JACKSONVILLE, Fla.-- It all started with a tick bite back in 2000.
"Went to put my hair in a ponytail and I feel like, right here on my head. I was like what is that? So, I went downstairs and I looked in the mirror and sure enough, there was a tick and it was attached right here," Anne Gaucher explained.
Gaucher's life went downhill from there. She went from a health care professional, competitve ballroom dancer and figure skater to a frail patient.
She contracted viral meningitis in 2005, then again in 2007.
"I said there's something wrong here. I've got to find out why I keep getting so sick so often, so I started seeing doctors to find out what was wrong with me," she continued.
Turns out, that tick gave her Lyme disease, which for her, is now chronic.
Symptoms include headaches, extreme fatigue, muscle pain and nerve problems.
"For years, people have been told Lyme disease either doesn't exist here or is very rare. And that's not true based on our research findings," said Kerry Clark, UNF professor.
Gaucher takes between 50 and 60 pills a day and hardly has the strength to get out of bed. She doesn't know what the future holds, but encourages everyone to pay attention to their bodies and ask doctors about the disease if they have symptoms.
"It's very, very serious and that's what needs to be known and needs to be discussed."
There's a Northeast Florida Lyme Association group that meets every third Thursday of the month.
Gaucher pays between $30,000 and $50,000 out of pocket each year for her disease.
If you’d like to donate or follow her journey, you can visit her blog here.