“Paralyzed” by Marina Morgan Brings Awareness to Lyme Disease
February 11, 2017
The Ultimate Fight Song
If you’re a dedicated listener to the Elvis Duran morning radio show, you can probably recall driving to work with tears streaming down your face listening to an inspirational song they aired about three weeks ago. That song is Marina Morgan’s debut track, “Paralyzed,” and her story is just as powerful and moving.
Though it seems like an instant phenomenon as Marina has had success showcasing “Paralyzed” on a variety of major national broadcast TV and radio shows, including NBC’s Today Show, her path to recognition was perilous. Before writing, performing, and releasing this powerful song, the young singer-songwriter struggled with a life-threatening illness. Her incredible story is heartbreaking, heartwarming, and, above all, inspiring.
When Marina was just 13 years old, she developed acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM), an autoimmune disease that eventually paralyzed her and put her in a wheelchair. With determination, support from her family, and help from the dedicated staff at the children’s hospital she spent months in, Marina was able to relearn how to walk and use her arms. For the next ten years, she took advantage of the abilities most of us take for granted and even became an avid runner.
Unfortunately, last year, she came face to face with losing her mobility again as she started to experience a range of familiar and new symptoms, including the inability to swallow her food and keep it down, muscle weakness in her legs and arms, and loss of vision in one eye. After performing many tests, doctors and specialists still weren’t able to give a diagnosis.
“I thought I might be going crazy. I was dealing with so many different symptoms and wasn’t receiving any direct answer,” Marina expresses her frustration in coping with her condition. “People would make me feel like I was overreacting and making it more than what it really was. I’ve lost quite a few friendships, but through those losses I’ve learned the value of true friends.”
Marina’s illness was an ongoing battle for almost a year, until one of her doctors decided to test for Lyme disease, which proved to be the cause for her lingering health problems. Lyme disease is an acute inflammatory disease caused by tick bites that transmit a certain bacteria and is characterized by fever, chills, lesions, and fatigue. Left untreated it can also cause join pain, arthritis, and cardiac and neurological problems.
Since receiving her diagnosis, Marina has undergone treatment and has regained the vision in her right eye; however, due to poor depth perception, she is still unable to operate a motor vehicle.
Through this unimaginable string of events that could easily put one in a downward spiral, Marina has graciously remained strong and positive. “From my personal experience I have come to understand why Lyme disease is deemed the ‘lonely disease,’” she says, “and that is why I want to use my voice as a platform to bring attention to Lyme disease and bring comfort to anyone who is feeling isolated.”