Natalie Walsh is a nurse, so she wasn't really all that phased when her 7-year-old daughter Natasha woke up around 5 a.m. last week with a headache, but no fever. Just a few hours later, however, the little girl's condition had gotten worse—much, much worse.
"By 10:30 am she was unable to walk, her fever was almost 104, and nothing touched it," the West Virginia mom explained in a now-viral Facebook post she is using to help spread awareness. "I rechecked her head because she kept complaining, and found a quarter-size lump on the right side of her head that by 4 pm had become the ugliest looking wound I have ever seen."
Natalie took Natasha to the doctor, where she was initially told it was a spider bite and sent home. "Within hours the wound looked even worse, had a white and red ring around it, the fever was unstoppable," Natasha wrote in her post. "She screamed in pain nonstop because she was unable to move her head /neck or even walk, she was dizzy, confused, and her knees were swollen and painful. I never saw anything like this in 13 years of nursing."
So scary! So Natalie rushed her baby to girl to Children's Hospital, where a team of doctors from neurology, dermatology, and infectious disease eventually diagnosed her with Lyme Disease.
"While it was not a typical presentation of a bullseye bite and her symptoms were a little off, she has Lyme disease," Natalie explained. "I wanted to share so maybe we could help prevent this from happening to anyone else. Lyme disease is on the rise and the type Natasha has attacked her nervous system. I just ask to please take precautions to prevent ticks with your children and yourself. I never saw a tick on Natasha, so even if u don't see one check their skin for bites and know this is something in our local area."
Since Natalie's original post on June 8, she has updated followers that Natasha has almost made a full recovery, and her story has been shared more than 55,000 times at time of writing.
"It's amazing that awareness of this horrific disease is increasing because of Natasha's experience," Natalie wrote in a follow-up post. "As we go through this journey, I'm just learning so much about this disease and how untrained medical staff are to treat it. My heart breaks for anyone that has this horrific disease and I pray that maybe her story and others I have seen will change things for the better for future generations."
Us, too. Thanks for being brave enough to share your story, Mama! So glad Natasha is finally getting better!