you may remember this bright + shining #fabfitbooker's face when we featured her astounding 60-lb weight loss just last year. but what you didn't know is this rockstar has battled (and beat) heart disease at a very young age. a story we want to share in honor of heart month - and because, well....this girl's got heart.
megan was only 23 when she began suffering from extreme fatigue and heart palpitations. suspecting she had a case of mono, she headed straight to the doctor. after a series of tests and a referral to a cardiologist, she was diagnosed with a heart condition called paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia (PSVT), as well as ventricular septal defect - a small hole in her heart. it had been beating way too fast for way too long, which basically meant cardiac arrest was imminent.
her only option: a cardiac ablation, a surgery in which the doctors would pump her heart to find the malfunctioning nerve and subsequently burn it off. during the course of the operation, the electrophysiologist discovered that megan had Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome: a condition in which an extra electrical pathway in the heart causes a rapid heartbeat. the area was removed.
megan’s journey back to heart-health in her own words:
“i was 23 when i was diagnosed in September 2014 and told i was a “ticking time bomb for cardiac arrest”. they said it might be months, or it might be years, but my heart would eventually give out, and there was no medicine that would prevent it from happening. that was a really scary prospect. i had heart surgery on 12/17/14, two days before my 24th birthday.
ultimately, i think the fact that i had really started focusing on my health around that time is what made all the difference. i was using fitbook and had lost around 40+ pounds, so i was more aware of my body and what wasn’t healthy. i actually noticed that my heartbeat seemed abnormal because i had been recording it in my fitbook. now, i have regular 6-month checks on my heart, as an ablation is not always a permanent fix, and i wear a jawbone UP 3 heart monitor on a daily basis. i continue to work out daily, and i follow a heart-healthy mediterranean diet.
so many people, especially young people, are unaware of heart issues. i had no idea. i was not prepared for the doctor to tell me that two days before my 24th birthday, I would be lying on an operating table prepping for heart surgery. i had no idea that the pre-workout drinks i loved were loaded with heart-rate-increasing stimulants that could have easily killed me. i was drinking two per day! now, i really stress getting checked out, because you just never know. always listen to your heart - if it seems off, get it checked out.”
megan’s story had a happy ending because she paid attention to her body, and now she has made it her mission to spread awareness far and wide, so others can benefit from early detection as well. last year, she raised money for the American Heart Association in the Richmond Heart Walk + she plans on participating in many more events in the future. we heart you megan! thank you so much for sharing your heartwarming story, and for letting us be a part of it.