Kennesaw • Georgia
My name is Megan, I'm 21 years old and started dancing at the age of three. I competed and traveled with my competition team. When I graduated high school, I was on the dance team at my college. But, 2-12-13 I developed compartment syndrome from an accident involving my left arm. I had 4 surgeries within 9 days to save my arm from amputation. These surgeries weren't all that I had coming, instead it was just the beginning. I began to pass out multiple times a day, not able to keep food down, and severe pain in my joints. I started loosing my hair, passing blood in my urine, and loosing substantial amounts of weight despite already being thin. I went through months and months of tests and various specialists. No one knew what was wrong with me. But on 12-5-13, I got the diagnosis that would change my life forever. I was told that I have Systemic Lupus Erythematosus and that it was causing my autonomic nervous system to shut down. SLE is an autoimmune disorder that is basically when my immune cells loose their ability to recognize my own cells so they attack. SLE is mainly attacking my red blood cells, joints, hair, stomach, and most traumatically, my autonomic nervous system. This is the automatic part of the nervous system that regulates all of the functions that you don't think about; these include heart rate, breathing rate, circulation, consciousness, sweating, pupil dilation, and many other simple things. Because my SLE is so aggressive, I am on some very harsh medications including steroids, immunosuppressants, chemotherapy, and biologics. I'm also on eight other medicines for palliative control which include IV fluids every other day and daily nausea medicines through my central line. These challenges though, have only inspired me to smile and dance even more. My health continues to be a challenge, but I was able to compete again this past year. In the adult contemporary category, I competed a solo to the song Medicine by Daughter. I received a platnium and it made me so proud. Despite all of these doctors saying no, despite all the pain, despite all of the sickness and hospital stays, I was still able to compete one more dance, and not only did my bald head score the best score I have ever gotten, I proved everyone wrong. I was free on that stage. I found my joy once again through the choreography. I am not bound by the hospital bed I'm laying in as I type this, I am just as free as that girl on stage telling her story. I am not a sick person defined by my lost muscle tone and the diagnosises given, I am Megan Hazel Barie and I am dancing through my challenges one step at a time.