UNM student misdiagnosed for years loses ability to walk and eat

A University of New Mexico student spent nearly a decade seeking a diagnosis for her health problems with no luck. Then suddenly, she lost the ability to walk and eat. Now, she’s finally getting some answers along with support from her fellow student journalists.

“At first it started off as minor pain in my lower abdomen,” says Megan Holmen. At just 20 years old, a hospital bed is the last place Megan thought she’d be. “About seven to eight weeks ago, I became unable to get up out of bed and unable to eat anymore, unable to even keep down ice chips or water,” she says.

Holmen is a junior at UNM and a journalist for the Daily Lobo. The paper is her passion, but now she can’t even go to class because of her illness. “You don’t expect to have somebody help you get changed, be lifted from your chair to a wheelchair once every few days to go outside,” she says.

This was about eight years in the making with doctors misdiagnosing her. However, recently, she got answers. “My most recent results from UNM said Crohn’s disease in multiple places,” said Holmen.

According to the Mayo Clinic, Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel disease that causes inflammation of your digestive tract, which can lead to abdominal pain, severe diarrhea, fatigue, weight loss and malnutrition.

Holmen says the constant hospital stays are now taking a big financial toll, but her fellow student journalists are stepping in to help.

“She should be worried about her health. She should be worried about getting better, getting treatments. Money should be the last thing she should be worrying about,” says Alanie Rael.

“When she first stepped out, it was really hard because she was such a presence in the office. She was constantly here,” says Danielle Prokop.

They’ve started a campaign to help Megan with medical expenses. “Megan has done so much for us, so the least we could do was be there and support her, and try to help her through this because if we were in her position, she would’ve done the same thing for us,” says Rael.

Being back at her Daily Lobo desk is what she wants more than anything. “The only option for my attitude is staying positive.  It’s not going to get better if I don’t stay fighting,” says Holmen. She will be transported to a hospital in Colorado on Monday morning for additional treatment.

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