Outpatient Physical Therapy Helps
Local Artist Megan Fight Rare Disease

Local Artist With Rare Disease.

Megan H. of Chicago’s North Side has been creating art for most of her life. And for almost as long, she has suffered from Behcet’s disease, a rare blood-vessel disorder that causes pain and inflammation throughout the body. Megan, who is 30, was diagnosed in her teens, but was able to attend college and earn a master’s degree in art therapy with the help of medication. 

Behcet’s disease manifests through multiple conditions that make everyday activities an ongoing challenge. Megan has suffered from eye inflammations, mouth and skin ulcers, severe joint pain and digestive ulcers, among other problems. At one point, she spent more than two months in the hospital and in a nursing home to receive skin grafts. 

In spite of all these challenges, Megan still has an optimistic attitude, as well as her art, which helps her look beyond her chronic condition for personal joy and satisfaction. And she keeps working to feel better. Among the many doctors and physical therapists she has seen over the years, she is very happy with the support and treatment she currently receives at Swedish Hospital with her physical therapist in particular. Together, they work to help Megan shift away from chronic pain and impairment to an improved quality of life and function with a brighter hope of future health.

While not expecting a cure, Megan is grateful that the therapy sessions reduce her pain and make daily tasks less difficult. Regardless of how she feels day to day, however, she has never wavered in her dedication to her art. “I try to do some art each day,” Megan says, “Some days when I don’t have the strength to do my 3D jewelry art, I will still do 2D drawings, even if just for a short time.”

Now Megan has a chance to share her work—and the rare condition she battles—with a larger audience. This summer, she entered one of her drawings in the 7th Annual Rare Artist Contest, sponsored by the EveryLife Foundation for Rare Diseases. The online art competition highlights the works of artists suffering from rare diseases, with the goal of helping promote awareness and increase research to support treatment and cures. 

Megan was recently featured in a RedEye cover story. You can read it on their site.

For more information on Swedish Hospital’s Physical Therapy Department, please call 773-989-1682

By David Modica | Published November 11, 2015
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