When summer started, Lyme Disease wasn’t the first thing that crossed Syndi Raiber’s mind.
Raiber, a resident of Litchfield, couldn’t even fathom that her 19-month-old daughter would contract the disease.
One day in mid-June Raiber came home to find a blemish on her 19-month-old daughter’s leg. The center was white and warm with a red ring surrounding it.
“There was no mark in the center. It was hot to the touch. It didn’t seem to itch or bother her,” Raiber said of her daughter Presley. “But it looked almost like a burn.”
Her husband, Eric, a stay-at-home dad, was also stumped about where the blemish came from.
“The first doctor we took her to said it would’ve been really weird if it was Lyme Disease because she needed a tick attached here on her little leg for 36 to 48 hours for the disease to transmit,” Raiber said.
Raiber shared the doctor’s skepticism.
“We haven’t taken her anywhere (where she could have been bitten),” she explained. “We didn’t take her to the woods. We took her fishing from shore once, but there is no way she could’ve got it.”
“I would’ve saw it,” she added.
As Presley’s condition didn’t improve, Raiber sought another opinion.
Her primary doctor referred her to a disease specialist at Children’s Hospital. The specialist informed her that the bull’s-eye rash doesn’t always develop on those who contract Lyme Disease, but was a telltale sign that Presley most likely had Lyme Disease.
She also explained the tick didn’t have to be attached to Presley’s leg where the rash formed. The tick could have bitten any part of her body for the rash to form.
“Was it in her ear? Could’ve it been between her toes? I don’t know,” Raiber said, adding that she learned ticks that commonly transmit the disease are in their nymph stage where there are smaller.
“After that, I felt a little less bad because I was like, ‘How could I have left a tick on my child for 48 hours?” she added.
Presley was prescribed amoxicillin, which seemed to be working because Presley’s rash disappeared, Raiber said. Two days later, Presley got a mosquito bite on her forehead, which swelled so much that her eye swelled shut. Her doctors explained that the swelling was part of the antibiotics working.
Presley is still on the road to recovery even more than a month after contracting the disease.
“Her entire hand and middle finger was swollen for no reason, and she is having unexplained pain in her feet and persistent low-grade fever,” Syndi said in an email last week.
Presley is currently seeing a specialist at the University of Minnesota.
“As a parent, I looked at (her rash) and felt that that’s not right. When you feel that that is not right and the doctor says, ‘No, that’s fine.’ It’s OK to ask for another opinion,” Raiber said.
This experience has changed how Raiber thinks about Lyme Disease, noting that she will be more thorough when checking for ticks on her daughter.
“I will be checking every nook and cranny regardless if it’s been long grass or not,” Raiber said. “I will be less worried to seek out other opinions.”
Raiber encourages other parents, “to follow your gut. When there’s something wrong, you know it.”