Lyme Disease Doesn't Always Stem From Tick Bites | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

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Lyme Disease Doesn't Always Stem From Tick Bites

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Cara Lee, left, and her mother, Diane Wimsatt, have gotten used to the many hours and dollars that it takes to treat Cara's Lyme disease.
Diane Wimsatt
Cara Lee, left, and her mother, Diane Wimsatt, have gotten used to the many hours and dollars that it takes to treat Cara's Lyme disease.

Cara Lee, 18, lives in Mount Airy, Md., and has a chronic form of Lyme disease. Although it's not exactly rare for people in states such as Maryland and Virginia to suffer from the condition, what is unusual, according to Cara's mother, is how the teen got Lyme disease.

"Well we can't be absolutely certain, but the doctor does thing that it's probably that I could have given it to her," says Diane Wimsatt, Cara's mother. "Because I also have Lyme disease, and didn't know it."

Some doctors say contracting Lyme disease in utero is possible. It also doesn't alter the symptoms or treatment of the disease, though, which Lee says are debilitating.

"I have a lot of pills I have to take, over 40 pills a day," she says. I can't do sports anymore. I used to be in plays all the time and I can do that with all the treatments."

In addition to being a drain on time and energy, Cara's care is also exhausting the family's finances with tests, treatments, and doctor visits -- all with very little insurance aid. Due to the high cost of Cara's medical care, her family has set up fund to support her treatments.

Lee hopes to be well enough to study at the University of Maryland in the fall.

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