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Episode 29: Fighting Through Disability with Megan Grannan

Episode 29: Fighting Through Disability with Megan Grannan

Alyssa Scolari: [00:00:00] Hello guys, gals. And they always hope everybody is having a great start to their week. I am just popping on before this delightful episode with Megan, just to congratulate the winner of our very first giveaway. Yeah. Congratulations to Rachel. She has won the first giveaway for the Light After Trauma podcast.

So happy for her. Thank you for everybody who reached out and participated in the giveaway. If you did not win. No worries at all. We are going to be doing plenty more giveaways, where that came from. I also wanted to thank Katie Lloyd Artist, who was the donor for our first giveaway. You can find her adorable shop on Etsy.

Our next giveaway. I am really excited for if you like coffee, if you like tea, this will be the perfect giveaway for you. We are almost there. We just need a couple more hundred downloads. And in case you are just tuning in every, for every thousand downloads that the podcast gets, I am doing a new giveaway.

So yeah, share the podcast, keep on downloading, keep listening writing reviews and let's get there so we can do this next giveaway. Thanks everyone.

Hello hello everyone. Welcome to another episode of the Light After Trauma podcast. I'm your host, Alyssa Scolari and I am excited to have another episode of awesome content for you here today. We have very special guest Megan Grannan with us today. So I have known...M egan and I went to high school together.

And I want to say, you were a year younger than me, right?

Megan Grannan: [00:02:11] Yeah.

Alyssa Scolari: [00:02:12] Okay. So Megan was a year younger than me. We managed the basketball team together, right?

Megan Grannan: [00:02:19] Yes we did.

Alyssa Scolari: [00:02:21] Yup,Yup. So we managed the basketball team together in high school. And I reached out and asked Megan to come on the show because even the Megan that I knew in high school versus the Megan that I see now is a very different Megan.

And in terms of somebody who has taken a lot of hardships in her life and has turned them into beautiful thing after beautiful thing. Megan is the epitome of that. So I will turn it over to you, Megan, so that you can explain more. Thank you again for coming on the show.

Megan Grannan: [00:03:01] Thank you so much for having me.

Alyssa Scolari: [00:03:04] Yeah. In your presence. I'm a little bit like, Oh, like this is a woman that is so strong. You're extremely inspiring and reading you coming out and talking about what life is like for you has helped me personally, in my own recovery, because I see your resiliency. And while you may not always feel that way you're probably like, okay, but every day is so tough.

Sometimes I think that it's important for you to know right off the bat in this interview that you are inspiring people and you are helping people to get through really tough things in life. So

Megan Grannan: [00:03:44] That means so much because if I can just help one person, that's my goal in life. That's just even with the kids and just help one of them, I feel accomplished.

Alyssa Scolari: [00:03:56] You're doing it. You're doing it. So do you want to start off with, because you also wrote an incredible piece. It was absolutely beautiful on your birth story?

Megan Grannan: [00:04:11] I did. On love what matters.

Yeah. Can you share a little bit about your birth story so the listeners can understand.

Yeah, no problem. My parents got married at a young age.

My mom's a NICU nurse and my dad was a UPS driver and my mom always knew medically complex babies and all this, and they both wanted children right away. And that didn't happen. So my moms had to have medicine that helped get her pregnant and she had to give shots herself and stuff like that.

And she told my dad that she was only going to go through three rounds because they miscarried a couple of times and they were in the process of adopting and it was, but the mom came back for the baby that they were going to adopt. And she said that was so emotionally hard. So she didn't want to do that again.

And so she said three more times, you got three shots for this. So the first time she miscarried and the second time she got pregnant, Twins. And it's crazy to think, but they said that she could have between one and ten babies. And she was like that's not happening, not to them. So she did say if she had more than four, that she couldn't carry because she knew that they wouldn't go to term and everything else.

So she was happy. It was just two. And as time went on, they saw that I was smaller, but they didn't know anything. But they thought it was twin to twin transfusion, which they saw that it wasn't. That meant we weren't identical. So they just said I was small and she was hospitalized for her whole pregnancy because she was on bedrest and she couldn't keep anything down and everything else.

My dad would go to visit her every night in the hospital. Cause he worked in Philly, but he had to go home every night as well. It was crazy. She does want it to get past 30 weeks because then she knew that we would have survived. And so she got to 32 weeks. And they knew that my sister was a girl, but I always still today they say I'm very stubborn.

So she knew off the bat that she was having a girl. So the Monday before I was born, she found out I was a girl. And she was like, of course, because then nursery could have been pink, but instead it's a gender neutral nursery now. So even back then, the way I was. But anyway, and two days later, her water broke and when she had us and I broke the water.

I think I was ready for the world, the world wasn't ready for me. But anyway, yeah, that's just the story of my life. So she had to have a C-section and it was a massive snow storm. And my dad just got home and he got the call and he turned around and headed back. My mom was in the operating room and my dad just made it.

And so I was being born, but my mom saw me and she saw that I had triangle face and she knew something was wrong and she didn't get to see my sister, but they didn't find out. Cause she got sick, but they didn't find out that there was anything really wrong. So the following Monday, because it was the weekend nobody's gonna diagnose.

So the geneticist came up and said, I think that your daughter has Metatropic-Dysplasia, which is a very rare form of dwarfism. And then there's was only about a hundred hundred people in the world that have it, which is crazy. And they'd said, which hospital do you want to go to? And my mom chose DuPont, and the geneticist said good cause that's it a orthopedic hospital.

And so I've been going there all my life, but she started reading the literature and stuff like that. They said I wouldn't live past two. And my mom met with the doctors and of course she didn't want to get attached to me because if she was going to lose me. So it was all all in emotions, all there.

And the doctor said, no, she's going to be fine. That was a relief. And she, my parents raised me as I could do anything and anything I wanted, but obviously the one thing I wanted to do was play soccer and that was not happening, but that's the context for it. So I couldn't play. I know that's weird, but just things, I get everything from ice skating to dancing, horseback riding, to managing the basketball team with you.

Yeah. So growing up was pretty normal, but I never wanted to accept myself that I was disabled. And if you called me that, then I would get offended and I would get in your face and say, I'm not disabled. But even when my mom got the handicap placard card, I did not want her parking there. I didn't want anything, but looking back, It's only because I thought I was like everybody else.

And and surgeries were part of my life. I missed a lot of school due to surgeries and that put me in the special education program and I fought my way to get out of there in sixth grade. I did. And that was crazy because it's. You look back and you think that I really did that. Did I really want that?

And I really did, but a teacher did say to me in sixth grade. Oh, you'll never make it once. Yeah. And like you think there, you sit there and think what kind of teacher would say that it's

Alyssa Scolari: [00:10:19] That's awful.

Megan Grannan: [00:10:21] It's awful. And I think that's why I don't ever, I always say you can't judge a student by who they are.

You have to get to know them. And you can't just say anything about the kids. So I went to college, I went to community college. And I was like, Oh I'm not getting into college because I got into one college, but I wasn't going out of the state. So when my mom took me to community college and said, "here you go."

And I was like, "what's this I'm not coming here."And she's" Are you going to get a job or are you going to school?" I said, "I'll go to school." But that honestly was the best thing for me, because I grew as a person. I became myself and I realized that I could, I didn't have everybody like hovering over me . what's going on?

What do you need? You were like everybody else sitting here that you were disabled, they didn't care. Yeah.

Alyssa Scolari: [00:11:20] You had a sense of like independence for where people, right? Like you said, weren't hovering over you. They weren't making this massive deal of your disability.

Megan Grannan: [00:11:32] Yeah. I get it in school settings, but at the same time, you have to let them read.

And I didn't like high school and everybody said, "Oh, I thought you loved .." no, I didn't like high school. I hated high school. I couldn't wait to get out of high school. I just needed to get out. And then everybody's: you're going to wish you were back in high school. I don't wish that at all.

Maybe I wish to go back to that age. But that, but at the same time, I didn't start doing things until I was older. Like I didn't drive then. So it didn't matter okay, you got your license, but I didn't like, so it didn't matter.

Alyssa Scolari: [00:12:16] There's been such a drastic transformation, where you went from like you said, and maybe in high school, you are still in that spot of I don't want to be called disabled.

I don't want to be labeled as different than anybody else. I just want to be the same. Yeah. And it was probably extremely frustrating because like you said, you were seeing other people getting their license and playing like the sports that you wanted to play. So I'm sure high school was totally miserable.

Megan Grannan: [00:12:45] It was. So if I told somebody, then I'd be like maybe you need to talk to someone. No, I could talk to anybody, but you're not going to understand unless you know what I'm talking about. And another thing is social media. Wasn't like it is today. They were like, we could go to support groups or this...

Yeah. But I wasn't ready for that. And then also in high school, a lot of the teachers are like we want you to share your story. And that's something I didn't want to, I didn't want to share my story at the time. And everybody knew I had surgeries, but it's just I didn't want to. So just when somebody contacted me about a post I made and they said, you need to share your story.

And I said, maybe it is time. So that's when it became time. And I was actually in Pennsylvania doing adapted driving lessons. When I did that.

Alyssa Scolari: [00:13:50] And this was how long ago?

Megan Grannan: [00:13:51] So two years ago, wait, a year ago I shared. And it's crazy because nobody knew really not the true me, but the true me because they didn't know like how I felt about certain things.

They didn't know. And even my parents didn't know, and I watched my twin sister go to college and go away and live her dream. And here I'm still living at home, and I'm watching this all unfold and you're like what's next? What are you doing? I, and then everybody also had an opinion on what I needed to do for college.

What my major should have been. No, it's not your opinion. So I became a teacher and that was the best thing I could've ever done. Yes.

Alyssa Scolari: [00:14:42] So what age do you teach?

Megan Grannan: [00:14:45] Kindergarten. So right now I teach Pre-K, but I usually am in kindergarten and they're the best. And. So they're very blunt obviously. And they'll be like why are you so small?

And you're like, so we always do a lesson on everybody's different and how everybody's different. And you read a book, then they write a sentence on how they're different. And then I'll share my story with them and they get very protective over me and you hear them in the hallway and it's so sweet and...

looking at it. I'm like, Oh, wow. So it's just showing them acceptance and who people are and it's okay to be different and to accept yourself. And I always say to them, if you can take one thing, I know they're in kindergarten, but one thing away from me, I want you to never give up, just don't give up.

And I said, yeah,

Alyssa Scolari: [00:15:46] They clearly are already getting so much from you. In addition to that, because, and whew, just hearing you talk about that and say, that gets me so choked up because look at the ripple effect that you're having on little kids. You're teaching kids at some of their most malleable year

to be all accepting of others, no matter how different one might look and to know that all people look different, all bodies are different. So you have your like, kindergarteners that are out there, yeah. Yeah, that's right. That is amazing thing. It's amazing. It makes me incredibly emotional because you are taking all of the hardships that you went through and you are actually changing, not just one person, like you said earlier, but like the generations of people.

Megan Grannan: [00:16:37] And that's what I love about teaching any. And everybody's Oh, it's just kindergarten. No, they understand. They understand way more than they think.

And then they were like, what do you do all day? We don't play like we are talking about things. It's fun. And so last year, like I fought for a student, I knew he needed and he would just come over and hug me. And he was like, miss G, I love you. All I can say back is I love you too, because I don't know if he's getting a hug at home.

I don't know what's happening. And so that's why I say you never judge a kid. I don't care if the kid's off the wall. You never judge a kid. I don't know if they're getting any love at home. I don't know. But with overcoming things, everybody's:" you are just so happy and positive all the time" and no, I'm not.

No people don't understand that either. I've gone into places that I don't think I would have ever been in. Like I had a job that wasn't treating me nice. And so it was awful and I would come home and cry every day and other situations I would just sob for months. And you don't realize it. What people do to you, just regular people.

And some of these people will be the closest people to you that do this stuff too. And I can't, sometimes I just can't. And so I will shut down and I'll cry. And, but with pain, I take myself away from everybody because I can't let other people see me in pain. And. It's just tough sometimes and people don't understand that.

Alyssa Scolari: [00:18:35] Yeah I think it's important that you're on here and you're, we're speaking about it because it's not just, right, it's not that life is always like rainbows and puppies and butterflies. Yes, you've overcome so much, but it has been so difficult for you every step of the way. And like you said, even people that are closest to you sometimes say things and do things that are extremely hurtful.

Megan Grannan: [00:19:00] Yes. And you don't know what to say, or you don't know what to do about it, but you're just sitting there and it could be somebody who's known me all my life. And then you're like, what. What just happened? And my parents have given up a lot to help me get where I am today. And my mom's been the driving force behind this whole thing.

And so like hip replacement, this is getting harder and harder, but every surgery, I don't know what, like emotionally I'm fine. I'll say I'm fine, but I'm actually not, but I'm fine though. That's when everybody says she's not fine that she's saying I'm fine. I'm fine. I'm fine. People know. Yeah. You've seen her face.

She's not mine say you're fine all you want. But so with my first hip replacement, this is when I realized things are starting to change, but my mom was a mess and she kept saying, You don't realize how big of a surgery this is. And I said, it's fine. What is it? Everybody gets a hip replacement. And she's so the nurse called me and said, this is a big thing.

And I kept saying, I'm fine. It's fine. I didn't do any research. I didn't do anything. Everybody says, you're fine. So fine. So before we got there, my mom was blasting Taylor Swift, and I was like, "what are we doing?" And she was like "I just want to listen to this song." And I was like, all all right. And so I said to her, can you take off your sunglasses?

We're in the parking garage now? And she's no, I can't. And I was like, okay. And. I was like, Oh, this is bigger than I thought it is. So yeah, it hit me. And the next thing really hit me. She's ...can you get out your phone so I can take your picture? I said, why. Am I gonna die. And she was like, you never know.

And I'm like, Oh my God. That's when it hit me. When we got up to the holding area, she just laid across me and sobbed and I thought I was going to get sick. Now I can't say anything because she's upset. I'm like, Oh my gosh. Oh my God. But it changed because now she gets emotional and I have to be her support system.

Alyssa Scolari: [00:21:33] Which can be tough for you when you're, you have had, how many surgeries have you had at this point? I'm sure you're keeping track,

Megan Grannan: [00:21:38] 27 or 28.

Alyssa Scolari: [00:21:42] Then you had your hip replacement when?

Megan Grannan: [00:21:44] So I've had both hips replaced, but that one, I was 21 and I woke up and I was like, apparently I said to my mom, "you lied to me."

And she was like, "I lied about what," about how much pain I was in because everybody told her it's no pain. You're fine. She'll be fine. The femur broke and I was supposed to move on campus. And I said," I don't understand how did this happen?", so of course I sobbed and I was off my feet for six weeks. And I was like, this has to happen.

I cannot not go. So I entered for physical rehab and they said, I don't think you should go. And I said, "I'm going." You need to discharge me by this date because I'm going.

Alyssa Scolari: [00:22:35] There's that stubbornness.

Megan Grannan: [00:22:37] Yeah. It is. Everybody's like "I don't know why you're so stubborn. Why you don't..." I said, "I paid for that bedding. That bedding is non-returnable,"

It was .Like, I don't care. And they were like you can use it next year. I was like no, my friends need me there. I got discharged on a Friday, the following Sunday, I was moved to dorm. So should I have push myself that hard? No. Would I do it again? Yes.

Alyssa Scolari: [00:23:10] But I was going to say, what'd you do it again?

Absolutely. And I, this idea of like stubbornness is....I think sometimes there can be like a negative connotation to being stubborn, but your stubbornness, or in other words, like your willfulness, the way in which you never give up and you never just take it is ultimately what has helped you to thrive.

Megan Grannan: [00:23:38] Yeah. It has been, I don't know if I didn't have that in me where I'd probably be sitting in the corner somewhere. Not doing anything.

Alyssa Scolari: [00:23:48] Yes. You are driving. So you got your driver's license, like I'm just. At what point in your life did you decide, because you only got your driver's license about a year ago? I think you said.

Megan Grannan: [00:24:02] Yes. So I actually started right around 16, started like doing a...I did a driver evaluation where to see if I could drive. And they said, yes. So then I had to wait until I was 18 with the state to help with funding. I couldn't afford the lessons that they were offering. So they sent me up with adaptive driving program.

And then, so this is an 11 year journey here, but that's a driving program. So I did that for about a year and then literally one session away from getting my driver's license and my hip went bad and I couldn't sit. So I knew I had to give it up. So then the guy also said, I want you to start doing another program, do another system.

All right. All okay. But then it was college, surgery, college, surgery, which was fine, which is fine, but I still wanted to drive. I'd still want it to be independent. I don't want to be driven by my parents everywhere. Still.

Alyssa Scolari: [00:25:16] No, you want to take matters into your own hands and have as much control over your life as you possibly can.

Megan Grannan: [00:25:23] Exactly. And I want to be independent and it's crazy to think that people would want to keep that away from me. So then I fought with the state for this other program that last year, over the summer, it was a six week intense program. Did I want to spend my summer there for two weeks? No, but I knew I had to.

So it was six hours every day driving like a joystick system. So it's almost like a wheelchair system. It's amazing to see what they can do to help you drive. But people don't know about it. People don't know about all this stuff. People don't know that there's programs and state offers that will help you.

I wouldn't know. Yeah, the state helped me pay for my car. It's just amazing to see what you can do, but you do have to fight for yourself in that respect. And so this is a huge step of independence. And then I said the next step, I'm moving out. So

Alyssa Scolari: [00:26:26] THat's your goal, right? That's your next goal?

Megan Grannan: [00:26:28] That's my next goal.

And I want to finish my master's and with driving. I will say this after I bought the car and I did everything with the car, people were texting my mom saying, are you really going to let her drive? And of course I was like, "why is everybody in my business now?" If they didn't think I was capable, they wouldn't hand me a car.

They would have never said yes. So I don't understand. And then you have all these negative people and stuff like that. So I always say, stay in your lane and if you can't, then don't say anything to me at all.

Alyssa Scolari: [00:27:07] Yup. If you can't be supportive of what I'm doing, then don't say anything at all. That's one of those things where people think that they're being concerned, but that's not their place.

That is something that has to be celebrated. Like you look at you, like you are a driving, you were told you, you would only live to be about two. You're about to be 28, right?

Megan Grannan: [00:27:33] Yeah. Yeah.

Yeah. So looking back now, when you look back on your life and the last, almost three decades, Everything that you have been through.

Do you feel more that you identify as being somebody who has a disability because I've seen through your social media, that you tend to embrace it more like this is what I have, but just because I have it doesn't make me any less important than anybody else.

Yes, soI have two pages. So I think you're on my private page, but I have another page. Disability World, and I've connected with so many people and it's so amazing just to talk to them and yes we might not have the same thing, but they understand where I'm coming from. They get it. And it's just amazing to talk to them. And did I ever think I would? No! Because I really did not want anything to do with it, but it's not a world to be ashamed of at all.

It's not like you see the ADA, you see everything that, and personally, my goal would be to fight for this stuff. And that's where I want to hit next. But I don't know why people put a label on everything. There shouldn't be a label on anything personally. And it's a huge pet peeve of mine. Special needs. I am not special needs.

I don't have special needs. I have accommodations. I do things differently. I'm not special needs. That's a huge thing in life.

Alyssa Scolari: [00:29:19] Yes. And that's that like where. And I think this is so important. We all need to be aware of what's called like linguistic evolution. So changing our language, you are not special needs.

You need, you are a human being who needs accommodations, different accommodations. You know what? I need different accommodations. Like we all do. I haven't met a single person on this earth who doesn't need accommodations. Yeah, I think that's a great point.

Megan Grannan: [00:29:49] Like why are we calling these kids special needs and what are they going to grow up and say, Oh, I'm special.

No, they just need accomodations. I'm sorry. No, I don't. And the disability world is always changing and the things out there are crazy what's going on. But I truly believe there's more fighting to be done. Yeah.

Alyssa Scolari: [00:30:15] Absolutely. And you are going to fight that fight.

Megan Grannan: [00:30:19] Yeah, probably everybody's Oh, here she goes at man. I'm like, yeah, that's a problem.

Alyssa Scolari: [00:30:26] Oh, I love it. Yep. I love it. You're like kicking butt.

Megan Grannan: [00:30:31] Nobody ever sees that side of me because everybody says you're so reserved and everything else I am. But at the same time, I'm not.

Alyssa Scolari: [00:30:40] You're a fighter. You're a fighter. You've been a fighter since the moment you came into this world. And like you said, maybe the world wasn't ready for you.

You were ready, but you were ready for this world and you're ready to change it. And you are doing that by showing other people that having a disability is not the end of life.

Megan Grannan: [00:31:02] No. And I've been called crazy by doctors because I think there's something wrong. No, there is something wrong with my body and don't call me crazy.

I'm sorry. I know my body and I wouldn't tell you I was in pain if I wasn't and that's the thing, doctors need to know their place too.

Alyssa Scolari: [00:31:21] Yes. There are lots of doctors out there. There are some phenomenal doctors out there, but also lots of doctors who tend to not listen, which is very frustrating.

Megan Grannan: [00:31:35] Yeah. So I'll say this now, but this summer I have to go through a whole hip revision on my left side. So they had to take it out and put a new one in. So that's the next battle, but I will be ready for my best friend's wedding in October

Alyssa Scolari: [00:31:53] For your best friend's wedding in October?

Megan Grannan: [00:31:56] Yeah. But it's just crazy.

Cause nobody knows what those online see.

Alyssa Scolari: [00:32:02] Yeah. Yep. And how hard you fight every day.

Megan Grannan: [00:32:06] It's just emotionally some people think, Oh yeah. It's rainbows and butterflies. Nope. Nope. It's hard. It's draining.

Alyssa Scolari: [00:32:17] It's draining. Yes. I hope that it's helpful to share your story. Like now that you're in a place where you're ready to, and you have been.

I hope that helps you. And of course, you're always going to get comments from people that are not helpful and that are more like pity oriented, which is extremely frustrating because you're like, I don't need you to pity me. I don't need you don't get Amy,

Megan Grannan: [00:32:45] but

Alyssa Scolari: [00:32:45] But at the same time, people are seeing it and people are very inspired by it. Does that bring you a little bit of relief?

Megan Grannan: [00:32:53] It does because as long as I can help people or one person, like I said it does. And seeing that, I could show a picture like right after surgery, like it's okay. Because would I've done that years ago?

No. I have grown into a person that nobody has ever thought. Being, like I said, out of high school in a way, not saying everybody, but the way some people and doing my thing and living on campus and Stockton redid a whole apartment for me. It's crazy to think. And it just happened to fall in my lap at the right time.

Teachers thought I shouldn't be a teacher because I was disabled. No, I don't think you would tell me.

Alyssa Scolari: [00:33:45] You make that decision. Not other people only you make that decision.

Megan Grannan: [00:33:50] Exactly. And I sobbed in my advisor's office because I was having a problem with the professor and she's "don't do this to me again"

and "don't you can't" and I went home and cried because she said. So I don't cry in front of other people. I don't it's I wait and wait until it built up. And then I just cried and she was like, you don't cry, you don't do anything. And that's when I saw the emotion. It's hard sometimes and people don't realize it.

Alyssa Scolari: [00:34:20] They don't, but I appreciate you coming on here and talking about it and being so open.

Megan Grannan: [00:34:30] I would thank you. It was such an honor to be asked to come on you.

Alyssa Scolari: [00:34:34] If

people want to learn more about your stories is there a certain place that they can go certain website they can go to

Megan Grannan: [00:34:44] Instagram is where it's at mostly @littlemeg212 is my handle.

Alyssa Scolari: [00:34:52] Its's @littlemeg212?

Megan Grannan: [00:34:55] Yes and Love What Matters. And if you just type in Megan Grannan on Google it all comes up.

Alyssa Scolari: [00:35:07] Okay, perfect. I will, for the listeners out there, I will link all of that in the show notes and the private Facebook page. And thank you. Thank you again for sharing a very emotional and very inspiring story.

Megan Grannan: [00:35:24] Thank you so much.

Alyssa Scolari: [00:35:27] Thanks for listening everyone for more information about today's episode and to sign up for the Light After Trauma newsletter, head over to my website at Alyssa Scolari dot com. The really great thing about being a part of this newsletter is that not only do you get weekly updates on new podcast episodes and blog posts, but you also get access to the private face.

The community as well as access to all sorts of insider tips, resources, and infographs that supplement what we talk about on the show. You also can connect with me and other trauma warriors. I'm super active on the Facebook community. And I look forward to talking with you.

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