For people suffering from Orthostatic Intolerance, Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia, Mast Cell Activtation or EDS. Follow me as I document my struggle towards better health.

Green Bay Student Megan Hermann overcomes Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia

Megan Hermann pushes through obstacles
Health problems spur Southwest senior to become a doctor

By Kelly McBride for the GreenBayPressGazette.com
For many high school students, getting out of bed in the morning is a chore. For Megan Hermann, it was nearly impossible.

Plagued by a mysterious condition, the Green Bay Southwest High School student suffered blackouts, severe vertigo and excruciating pain. Doctors finally diagnosed a rare disorder and gave Megan the tools to help manage her condition.

Fast-forward two years, and the 17-year-old continues to thrive. She still suffers bouts of illness related to her disorder — Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome — but fighting it has only strengthened her resolve to help others in pain.
Megan wants to be a doctor — or, as she puts it, "I refuse to not be a doctor." Those who know her say her intelligence and drive will get here there, no matter what the obstacle.

Megan is one of 10 area students to be named to the 2010 Green Bay Press-Gazette Academic Team. These elite students are being recognized for their academic, extracurricular and community involvement throughout high school, and their potential to succeed beyond.

Always an excellent science student, Megan thought about going into research areas such as drug creation or stem-cell research. But a series of family accidents and illnesses — including her own — helped steer her toward medicine.

"My illness over the past couple years has really changed my mind," she said, "because I've seen what a difference doctors can make — not only in the people they treat, but their family members — and it continues on, just past one person."

Family is of utmost importance in Megan's life, and she is close to her parents and three siblings. They've helped her stay strong through bouts of sickness, and she's helped them, too. When Megan's brother Jason, now 15, was adopted from China at age 8, it was a pre-teen Megan who taught him English.
"He and I just couldn't connect," said Megan's mom, Tammy, adding, "One day she just came in and said, 'mom, let me try,' and she took it, and they clicked. And she got him through that summer … and by fall, he assimilated into a regular classroom."

Megan's stats are impressive — 3.91 grade-point average and countless honors and awards. She rides horses competitively with her mom, displaying the same dedication she shows in the classroom. But Megan's potential to succeed goes beyond that, said Southwest chemistry teacher John Sebranek.

"One thing about Megan is, she has very good leadership skills," Sebranek said. "I have students that are good academically, but what will happen is they're quiet as a mouse. Megan is not quiet as a mouse … if something isn't right, she's going to be right there. And that's what you need to be competitive."
Although Megan's illness is somewhat controlled, she still struggles with bouts of it. Getting enough sleep, exercise and proper nutrition all are keys to managing the disease — and not something college or medical students are particularly known for.

But Megan is determined and optimistic. Doctors have told her people often outgrow the condition in their early 20s, so she's hoping to be done with it by the time she starts medical school. First up, she'll study biochemistry and Spanish at Baylor University; later, she hopes to pursue her doctorate at Baylor College of Medicine and become a neurosurgeon.   See Full article at http://www.GreenBayPressGazette.com

2 comments:

  1. I wish Megan all the luck in the world. In looking at my own experience with Orthostatic Intolerance, I realize now that I had bouts with it when I was younger, but just did not know what it was--doctors then thought it was anxiety related (not the case, although anxiety can trigger it), but it was not until I was in my 40s that I got a firm diagnosis of OI (from Mayo Clinic Jacksonville).

    What helped me beat it back when I was younger was lots of exercise (mainly swimming and cycling).

    What upsets me now about the illness is the fact that I am exercising harder than ever in a trainer directed program and feel I am in better shape than I've even been in but still cannot fully stomp my symptoms down, as I was able to do when I was younger.

    Then again, I am not progressing and that's a wonderful victory. I think a lot of us are doing our utmost to manage these conditions, hoping that medical science will come up with better treatments soon. We need more Megan types to push research in this field forward.

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