CORDOVA, TN (WMC) - Taylor Pertzborn is 18 years old and confined to a hospital bed.
She dropped to 82 pounds in the last six months from gastrointestinal problems that the family believes are tied to chronic Lyme disease.
"It's very sad and disheartening for somebody who is looking at a child that literally life has been taken away and could possibly be lost," said her mother Michelle Pertzborn.
It can be a deadly disease, and Pertzborn said doctors haven't acknowledged Lyme as an issue since Taylor's initial treatment.
"I mean you've gotten your 28 days of antibiotics, all we can do is treat the symptoms," Pertzborn said.
According to Julie Parker, a licensed professional counselor for Lyme patients, the CDC doesn't recognize chronic Lyme disease.
Therefore, doctors are regulated with guidelines that usually forego treatment after the initial 28 days of antibiotics.
"It's hard to diagnose Lyme disease because it mimics so many other diseases. The blood test to detect Lyme disease is horribly unreliable. They have a maximum reliability of about 50 percent," Parker said.
According to the ILADS Directory, or International Lyme Associated Diseases Society, there is only one doctor from Mississippi and one from Tennessee who are licensed to treat Lyme Disease patients.
"There are doctors who have been run out of state for treating Lyme because it's not the norm," Parker said.
Pertzborn said her daughter started out having symptoms such as dizziness, fatigue, and nausea.
"She never got a rash, never knew that she got bit," Pertzborn said. "It took her high school years away from her that you are supposed to be having fun and playing out with your friends and she didn't get to do that."
By Taylor's senior year, she was confined to a walker. Although she was ill, she maintained a 4.0 average at Cordova High School.
Taylor plans to attend Christian Brother's University and become a doctor. Then, she can help raise awareness about Lyme Disease.
Her family is also seeking medical attention from a hospital in Germany that specializes in Lyme Disease Treatment.
To help the Pertzborn family, click this link.