my name is Megan
and I've been
I’m 25 years old and I am chronically ill, and yet if you
saw me on the street you'd
likely have no idea.
. . .
when I was 18,
I began having
pain in my ribs
never went away
After maybe a month of persistent rib pain, I went to the doctor. Tests indicated autoimmune activity, but diagnosing a specific autoimmune disease is notoriously difficult. More symptoms presented themselves and I found myself declining quickly.
A few years into searching for answers, I was diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. The doctor who diagnosed me made the disease seem completely benign. It's not. I'm still discovering exactly how much the condition affects me almost 5 years after being diagnosed.
I've gathered other diagnoses over the years, but the elusive autoimmune disease and my Ehlers-Danlos syndrome are the most pervasive of my illnesses.
I went away to college, but was forced to move back home. My symptoms were progressing rapidly. I finished school over the course of 5 years, graduating with a degree in psychology with a minor in philosophy. I wanted to go to grad school to study psychoneuroimmunology, specifically focusing on the physiological mechanisms behind the psychological effects of chronic pain and autoimmune disease. That has yet to happen.
I currently work part-time at a ballet school I used to attend. I danced from age 3 until I was 17. I was ready to start a professional career when I quit. I quit because I had ankle problems that led to 2 unsuccessful surgeries. I later found out that EDS caused the problems that forced me to quit.
systemic autoimmune disease (probably lupus)
severe chronic respiratory issues
Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (type 3/hypermobility type)
postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS)
Dance has always been my passion, and I'm looking into ways I can help introduce dance therapy to sick and disabled children. Dance brings me so much joy, and I think it can help people make peace with their bodies and to love them again.
I've also found unexpected solace in writing. I never thought that I would share my writing, let alone consider pursuing a career as a writer!
but until my health
It's probably apparent that chronic illness has changed my life in many ways. I will be the first to admit that chronic illness has been devastating for me. It's taken so much from me and it's replaced what it stole with pain. I am a different person than I was before I became ill.
It's been 7 years and I'm still trying to figure out who I am now. But I'm realizing that I like who I am or who I'm becoming, regardless of all the devastation.
& i am proud of my fight
I am a