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Healthwatch 16: Mifflinburg student wrestler talks narcolepsy diagnosis

With a narcolepsy diagnosis, a Mifflinburg teen has had trouble completing his wrestling seasons.

MIFFLINBURG, Pa. — Seventeen-year-old Max Murray of Mifflinburg has been passionate about wrestling since he was a young child. But he's had trouble completing his wrestling seasons because of his health.

"I was always weak and I would break bones or I'd get dizzy. Unfortunate stuff would happen to be all the time," Murray said.

Dave Murray, Max's dad, knows the struggle.

"We would go to doctors and they would say leukemia, and then they would turn around and say 'oh it's this, this, this' and nothing worked," he said.

About a year and a half ago, Geisinger Dr. Anne Marie Morse diagnosed Max with narcolepsy.

"The primary symptom is excessive daytime sleepiness; 100% of the patients who have narcolepsy have excessive daytime sleepiness," Dr. Morse said.

Dr. Morse is a pediatric neurologist and sleep medicine specialist at Geisinger. She said other symptoms can include sudden weakness, sleep paralysis, and sleep hallucinations. Most people with narcolepsy develop symptoms between ages 5 and 15 and can live productive lives with treatment.

"They're able to attend school, able to work, able to drive, able to have a family and rally have a functionality that is similar to an individual without narcolepsy," Dr. Morse said.

Murray said he has to go to bed at a certain time along with other restrictions.

"You can't eat before you take this medication. You have to watch what you put in your body because this medication could mess it up," Murray said. "It's a process but it's getting narrowed down, so it's getting more simple as we go."

Murray will soon start his senior year at Mifflinburg Area High School. He is happy to have a diagnosis and treatment plan for his narcolepsy.

"At least it's something that I know I can handle and just kind of deal with as I grow up," he said.

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