Puberty is a difficult stage for everyone. Now, imagine how hard would it be having to deal with an upsetting medical condition. This was the fate of Megan Barnard who growing into adolescene developed lymphedema. Lymphedema is a condition that causes fluid retention and tissue swelling.
With time, Megan had five pints of excessive fluid in her right leg leading to upsetting names like “Michelin Man”, among others. From the embarrassment, she never wore skirts, dresses or anything that has to do with revealing her legs. She decided to hide it from people instead.
By the age of 24, her leg had swelled to twice its normal size. However, she managed to keep her condition a secret from her boyfriend 27 year old Robert Neidenfeuhr. He knew nothing about her medical condition. He had no idea what is going on.
“She was extremely careful but I really didn’t notice, there were lots of closed doors, lots of lights off – that kind of thing,” he said to the Daily Mail.
Megan went so far as to contemplate suicide because she felt like she just couldn’t take it anymore.
“At my lowest point I had written a suicide letter to my dad – I told him I was done and I was just going to end it.”
But, this year something changed. She decided to go public with her lymphedema for the first time ever by doing a photoshoot. It was the first time her boyfriend ever saw her leg.
On GoFundMe, she writes:”I felt like I was a less of a person for having lymphedema and that I would never live the life I’ve always wanted. I believed, that I belong in the circus.” She has raised $10,505 of $44k goal.
With a new outlook on life, Barnard is pursuing modeling to encourage other young girls not to suffer in silence, and to accept themselves for the way they are.