NEW BERLIN, Wisc. -- A New Berlin, Wisconsin mother of four thought her most recent pregnancy left her feeling sick until a blood test revealed a life-altering disease.
"It started in my face or my head and I would just get these zings," Katelyn Mabry said.
Mabry felt off for months. She would often feel tingling in her face and skull.
"My right knee will hurt and sometimes my right wrist will lock up," Mabry said.
All her symptoms could be explained away. Mabry was in the middle of writing a children's book, "Hi It's me! I have ADHD" and she was about to have her fourth child.
"I said, 'I'm exhausted because I'm pregnant. My knee hurts because I did too much today,'"Mabry said.
But the reality was much more serious. After her son was born she found out she had Lyme Disease, a bacteria transmitted through tick bites that could lead to swelling in the brain and heart.
"Internally you feel like something is eating away at you. You feel like you have the flu, you just ran a marathon. You're fatigued. Like right now I'm experiencing hot and cold," Mabry said.
Her doctor thought Mabry got it last summer, likely from the forest preserve by her house. She's not alone. Since 2004, Lyme Disease has tripled. Mabry's diagnosis means daily antibiotic IV treatments.
"It's life-altering," Mabry said.
There is a chance her pain and other symptoms never go away.
"I'm generally a positive person. And I am trying so hard to stay positive but when you feel awful so often it's hard sometimes," Mabry said.
Experts recommend people wear long sleeves and pants if going out in long grass or in wooded areas where ticks are likely to be. They also suggest you use an insect repellant with at least 20 percent DEET.
For more information about how to prevent tick bites, visit the CDC's website.