In 2008, she was bedridden for nine weeks due to a malfunctioning liver, speech problems and other symptoms that specialists were unable to decipher. She had to resign her staff position at IU's information technology services, but in 2010 managed to complete her master's degree in informatics at IU.
In the spring of 2012, she suffered another tick bite, this time on her scalp. It produced a rash consistent with Bartonella, a bacterial infection that's a common co-infection of Lyme disease and produces many of the same symptoms. She was treated with steroids, which she says further weakened her immune system, exacerbating her Lyme disease and Bartonella.
"Two weeks after the bite, I was in the emergency room," she said. "I couldn't walk or talk."
Today, Coleman Morse still struggles with hand tremors, joint pain, seizures, speech problems and brain fog. She's being treated by a Lyme disease specialist in Zionsville, who has her taking antibiotics intravenously four times a week at home — through a port in her right arm.
"I've been taking IV antibiotics for about a year, and it's been the most effective treatment for me so far," she said. "But it's different for everyone. Some people with Lyme disease respond better to oral antibiotics or herbal treatments."
Coleman Morse said there is a lot of disagreement in the medical community about the diagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease.
"Some say it's hard to get and easy to treat, while others say it's easy to get and hard to treat," she said.
She said some medical professionals say 80 percent of those with Lyme disease will get a bull's-eye-shaped rash, while others insists it's closer to 50 percent. The reliability of some Lyme disease diagnostic tests is also questionable, she said.