NEW YORK (FOX 5 NY) - Ally Hilfiger, the daughter of famed fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger, says she lived a nightmare for nearly 14 years while doctors tried to figure out what was ailing her.
Her struggle with Lyme disease-- a bacterial infection primarily transmitted by ticks- is detailed in her new memoir, 'Bite Me: How Lyme Disease Stole My Childhood, Made Me Crazy and Almost Killed Me.'
"I was seven years old when I got bit by a tick. Lyme disease is in 50 states and 80 countries. We frequented many of those countries and states, but we think it might have been somewhere around Nantucket or the Hamptons because that's where my mom found the tick," said Hilfiger, 31.
The tick that infected Hilfiger in the early 1990s was tested and Lyme disease symptoms started right away, but doctors didn't diagnose the young Hilfiger with the illness.
After more than a decade of bouts of strep throat, pain throughout her body especially her knees, difficulty concentrating and paranoia, Hilfiger had had enough.
The now mother of an 18-month-old girl tells the story about defecating on a silver tray given to her father as a way of showing him that she had reached her wit's end.
As a result, Tommy Hilfiger had his daughter, about 18 years old at the time, admitted to a psychiatric hospital. She remained there for four months.
Hilfiger was finally correctly diagnosed.
"A psychiatrist there really figured it out. She was brilliant," said Hilfiger.
While she is not cured from the disease, Hilfiger is doing well and hoping to increase awareness of Lyme.
"If the weather is at 42 degrees (and above), the ticks are out. If you catch it right away and you go on antibiotics, if you're one of those lucky people, you are fine. But in a lot of cases it is misdiagnosed. I am healthy. My disease is under manageability," said Hilfiger.