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Mersadies Morgan said she has worked to ensure her illnesses didn’t define and limit her. Diagnosed with scoliosis, or curvature of the spine, at age 11, she said she had the option to live the rest of her life in a wheelchair and do nothing due to her condition.

“But what kind of purpose would that be? I would hate my life not doing anything and feeling like a burden to society. I could never. I’m too much of a strong-willed person. I have to be doing things.”

Having experienced limited help with her medical issues from 30 doctors and different treatment alternatives, Morgan said despite everything, there are still things to look forward to. She said, “I know tomorrow I’m going to wake up in pain, and it’ll be the

same next day. And that[is]really hard...I was suicidal the first year. “I remember reading my patriarchal blessing and seeing all the things like you’ll have, a family and like, getting married, and all these things, and I was like, ‘Okay. There’s good

things to look forward to even if it’s tough. I mean, everybody’s life is tough.’”

Living with several severe illnesses

Morgan, a senior majoring in biology from Idaho, said since she was diagnosed with severe scoliosis, she has suffered from various illnesses. As a result, in her early teenage years, Morgan said she went through several surgeries to treat her scoliosis.

At 16, Morgan shared she and her family had the strong impression to see a surgeon although there wasn’t an acute emergency. She said the surgeon discovered one of her screws, inserted in her last surgery, was in the wrong spot. It was one of the worst summers, Morgan said, because the doctors decided to remove all the screws and put in a new cement screw, which led to multiple surgeries and months of being bedridden. This experience put her "body through much trauma,” she added.

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Yui Leung

Consequently, she said her immune system was affected. During her senior year in high school, she said she developed an unexpected illness called dysautonomia. According to the website Cleveland Clinic, people with the illness have malfunctioning autonomic nervous system that can, among other things, cause heart, blood pressure and breathing problems.

Morgan said she was diagnosed by doctors at the University of Utah, but due to it being a new disease, the doctors could only offer her limited help. Morgan said she did her own research and found her condition was most likely caused by previous trauma and showed up around puberty.

After transferring from BYU–Idaho, Morgan shared she knows coming to BYUH Was the right decision. “I kind of wanted to get out of Idaho, experience a different culture [with] more diversity. I went to Kauai when I was 6 months old, so I’ve always wanted to come back because I don’t really

remember that.”

In Morgan’s first semester at BYUI, she said she had a notetaker because she couldn’t take notes normally. “It was so embarrassing because people would look at me like [I’m an] attention seeker.” People don’t see that

the “increased use [of hands] makes the pain worse,” she said. Morgan explained if she uses too much of her hands, they feel “like being shocked in different places,” and the migraine that comes afterwards feels like “being stabbed randomly.”

Due to bad circulation and blood pooling, she said her legs turn purple and she gets lightheaded whenever she stops moving. Morgan said she has discovered ways to live with her disorder, one of them being to avoid food that could give her migraines.

A passion for helping others

Morgan explained when she first developed her condition, male doctors said she was fine and prescribed her an antidepressant, instead of fully considering her symptoms.

She said during that time, she experienced first-hand how the male dominance in the medical field impacted her since women are usually not taken seriously. Morgan said she wants to change that by becoming a doctor herself. Having found her passion in the medical field, she shared she wants to become a psychiatrist.

Being able to help people spiritually and mentally who are dealing with similar conditions brings her joy because that was how she started her healing, she added. Morgan said she has also been active in school extracurricular activities and has been the president of the Healthcare Professionals Club for the past three semesters.

Her pain doesn't stop her, she shared, from getting her clinical hours at Adventist Health Castle in Kailua and working at the BYUH Museum of Natural History.

Above all, Morgan said having faith in her, Savior, Jesus Christ, has comforted her. She said, "I'm in pain like nobody has experienced, but Christ did. At first, [living with the pain every day] was a really isolating experience, but [after] learning to lean on Him and find purpose in my life, things have been better."

"I think that this is just going to be my trial, at least for a little while. I mean, I know that like Christ will take it away eventually...

"Maybe it won't be in this life. Maybe there won't be medical treatments while I'm on Earth, but like, someday, you know, we'll get a perfect body.

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