Life with Lyme: Alexandra Moresco
Updated: Jul 14, 2018
Alexandra Moresco not only dominates the PR world, she is a Lyme Warrior. Alexandra (Ali) started her own PR company, hosts a fun and successful fundraising event for Global Lyme Alliance, is filming a show in LA and still manages to fight Lyme disease. Ali's determination and passion for life is truly inspiring and in this interview she not only shares all of the exciting things going on in her life, but also how she copes with Lyme while pursuing her passions, and how to stay positive and hopeful in difficult times.
JC: Tell us a little about yourself
Ali: My name is Alexandra Moresco and I’m 25. Currently in my life right now I am very excited because I’m working on the 2nd Annual Sublyme Soiree* which is our premier Midwest fundraiser for Global Lyme Alliance. Last year the goal was $30,000 and we raised close to $70,000! Our goal this year is to raise over $100,000. For those that don’t know, Global Lyme Alliance is a 501©3 nonprofit on East Coast and they fund research and they look for treatments that are more streamlined for us. I work really closely with them and I also went back to work about 6 months ago. When I was sick I owned by own PR firm and had about 10 clients and it was just crazy. Even if I wasn’t sick it wasn’t healthy how much I was working. My doctor told me I probably shouldn’t go back to work like this (still having symptoms of Lyme disease) because you can still relapse, but sometimes you have to live your life and I’m just careful about it. I try not to stress myself out about it to that point. I am now working on a show in LA and I have been living there part time. Its been nice to work on something else and focusing on something else besides my illness. Whether you volunteer or have a part time job, it’s important to focus on something else besides your illness. I know its so hard when you don’t feel well but its so easy to get stuck in that rut of just focusing on the negative and I completely understand that. I did that the first 3-4 months I had Lyme. It nice to be back at work and work on something related to Lyme but I love working for GLA and they will never get rid of me! I just got my PICC line put in for my IV antibiotics, but it is nice not getting stabbed anymore. The lesser of 2 evils.
JC: You founded A Moresco PR, when did you start the company? How did you get involved in PR and end up owning your own company?
Ali: I am kind of a weird story. I went to college in Chicago and I started out as an accounting major and if you know anything about accounting there is no creativity, at all. So clearly the wrong choice for me. So, I started a blog, before everyone and their mom and dog had a blog, and actually people started reading it. I wound up getting scooped up by Nike my sophomore year for a concept store that they were designing for college aged women. I worked with them for 2 years and the concept store closed, and they told me I could stay on full time or there is the option to leave. I decided to take that risk and do my own thing. I knew if I continued in the corporate world I was never going to take that risk and I had always wanted to own by own business, so I gave myself a year, my senior year of college, and I got my first client. Then I slowly started gaining more clients and that’s how my PR firm started. At the end of my senior year I was so sick and worked a year into being that sick. A year after graduation I was too sick to function, so I stopped working for about a year after that. I just went back to work about 6 months ago but made sure to not work as crazy hours as I did before.
JC: When were you diagnosed with Lyme and how long did it take?
Ali: I know this isn’t that long, sadly for most people, but it took about 2 years. I live in Chicago, I’m not a woody person and I don’t like the woods but my husbands family is from Michigan and they go up to northern Michigan every year. I went and I felt fine and when I came back I had the “flu” for 3 months. My primary care doctor didn’t know that was a symptom of Lyme. And then from there I just deteriorated, and it got worse and about a year into being sick I started losing my memory and I was like oh my god I’m 23 and I feel like an Alzheimer’s patient! I started seeing different specialist and eventually I hunted down a doctor I had when I was 5 years old and same thing I was very sick and no one could figure out how to get me better and I had mycoplasma pneumonia. And he treated me with Chinese medicine, he helped get me better. I found the doctor at midwestern and was the one who thought to test me for Lyme disease and shocker, it came back positive. He then referred me to a Lyme literate doctor that had treated a previous patient of his.
JC: How did you get so involved in Lyme and spreading awareness?
Ali: When you first get diagnosed you are just trying to figure it out since there is so much information out there and it is just really overwhelming. About 3 months into my diagnosis I was like okay I am not working and I had just gone back to school to get my masters and that’s really all I was doing. You find out that insurance doesn’t cover treatment. You find out about the injustices within our government and Lyme disease and all these people that are suffering. It could always be worse, and I felt good enough to be able to help other people. So, I started researching Lyme organizations and I really liked Global Lyme Alliance and what they were funding and reached out and said, “Hello I need to work with you!” I got connected to a volunteer in Chicago and that’s how the Sublyme Soiree was born, and I just slowly got more involved. Now I do a lot more different fundraising efforts, I do awareness with media and I host a podcast for them called 'In the LymeLight'. I think its something I will always be deeply involved in. Mentally it makes me feel like I have a purpose and something to work for and it has been a big part of my personal healing process. Anyone that is reading this it might seem like you don’t have the energy or it’s a lot to take on, but even if you help in the smallest ways I promise you will end of feeling so good because of it. There’s not a better feeling then giving back, especially when you are helping a cause that personally affects you.
JC: You have battled Lyme all while working, planning fundraisers for GLA and shooting for a show in LA! How do you maintain the balance of taking care of yourself and your Lyme but also still doing the things you love? I know for a lot of people that they start to feel better, work really hard and then crash and end up back in bed. The balance is tricky. What are your main tips?
Ali: I am really careful with what I do. Even just looking back on how I worked when I was first started my business, whether I was sick or not the amount I worked was unhealthy and that’s kind of our culture. You brag about how little you slept and how many hours you were in the office and its just so unhealthy. I promised myself when I started working again that I would never go back to that. It is still a struggle because I am spending 1-2 weeks at a time in LA and we are on set from 6am to 9pm all week and there is just not a choice there. You do what you have to do and then I come home and spend a week in bed if we are off. As for balancing it all sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t. When I am home I am good about getting off my computer at a certain time at night and I let myself sleep in. I have trouble sleeping and I go to sleep late so being able to say, “Okay I am going to wake up at 9 a.m.” is really important to me, or else I can’t function. Luckily, I can work from my couch or bed. It’s little things for me, in the morning I check my phone and then I put in on the charger for 30 minutes and don’t look at it and that for me is really healthy to be able to gather my thoughts for the day and wake up and not feel ambushed by a million different things. I actually took email off my phone, which people think I’m crazy for. I check at certain times of the day. We have this culture now where people expect an immediate response and that’s not healthy or how it should be. I have a great support system between my husband and my parents. They help me with medical and fundraising and IVs. I did just sit down and was like I am full time and I have this network show and Global Lyme Alliance is like a full time a job… so I finally hired an intern to help me because you can’t do everything at once!
I hosted an event for Global Lyme Alliance and we brought Ally Hilfiger out for a brunch. She talked about something that really stuck with me. The first time she went into remission she went gung-ho and went 100 miles an hour back into work and life and rebuilding friendships, and she got sick again. The second time she went into remission she took a full 3 years to get back into any type of work and living a semi normal life. And she credits that for why she is still healthy. She talked about not feeling guilty about taking that time for yourself and not feeling guilty about not being able to do anything. And that for me was a wake up call, like oh my gosh I’m feeling better and I’m nowhere near remission but I have to be so careful.
JC: What words of wisdom would you give a someone who is struggling with Lyme and is feeling down or hopeless?
Ali: It’s hard because I have been there. I was just talking to one of my friends who has Lyme and has had it way longer than me, and I think its hard when you are mentally in that place because you know its not “you”. It is really hard to talk yourself out of that. I think keeping yourself surrounded by very positive people is important. It is easy in the chronic illness community to get caught up in constantly talking about what’s going wrong in your life and I have learned that I have to be careful because it brings me down very quickly. Its sad to say that there is no set treatment that works for everyone but at the same time you never know what is going to work for you. It took my doctors a full year to find out what works for me and thankfully I’m starting to feel better. It’s important to be your own advocate and if you know something is wrong in your body to not stop until you find an answer. I think it’s difficult, but you need to find some light at the end of tunnel, like I got a dog to focus on something else other than my illness. I get caught in those holes myself so to have someone you can talk to or take your mind off it is really important.
JC: What are some of the main things you do on a daily basis to keep yourself striving towards being healthy and staying positive?
Ali: My best advice is to take time to love yourself and practice self-care. Whatever that is for you, if you like to do cupping once a week, or get a manicure. Whatever makes YOU feel good is *important.
Follow Ali to keep up to date with her fun life and also her Lyme journey!
*Sublyme Soiree: Video (Created by PR Girl Series and Joe Knee)
Podcast: In The LymeLight