Real Woman 2021 Megan Corbin
After a heart attack at 30, professional dancer Megan Corbin wants people to know heart disease can happen to anyone.
Despite having asthma and a form of the autoimmune disease Lupus that affects her kidneys, Megan, 30, has always appeared the picture of health.
Indeed, Megan was so familiar with occasional discomfort that she didn’t think much of it when she woke up early one morning in July 2020 with joint pain. But as the minutes ticked by, she developed a terrible pressure in her chest and broke out in a cold sweat. Then her left arm went numb.
Megan woke up her husband, Raymond, and asked him to take her to the bathroom, where she laid on the floor in an attempt to cool down. She thought it was gas.
“I felt like if I drank a ginger ale, I could burp up whatever it was,” she said.
Increasingly worried that it was something more serious, Raymond carried Megan to the car and drove her to the emergency room. When they arrived, doctors did an exam and told her she was having a heart attack caused by a blockage in one of the main arteries to her heart.
Megan was shocked but resolute: “How do we fix it?” she asked them.
The answer: a stent. To alleviate the blood clot and reduce her pain, doctors put Megan on a beta blocker and sent her by plane from Crescent City, Calif. to a hospital in Medford, Ore., that was more equipped to deal with heart issues. When she arrived, the doctors were waiting, but first she had to sign the consent form.
“I looked at the doctor and said, “I didn’t plan on dying today, so let’s do what we have to do,” she recalled. “That kind of lightened the mood for everybody.”
During the procedure, the doctors told Megan she was the youngest person on their table, that she looked like a child. Despite her physical fitness and youthful appearance, however, she later discovered she had high cholesterol and elevated blood pressure.
“Heart disease can happen to anyone,” she said. “We never think that anything like this can happen until it does.”
Ordinarily, Megan would have started cardiac rehab upon her release, but the COVID-19 pandemic put a crimp in those plans. Instead, she did what she could on her own, including daily hour-long fitness videos and long walks along the coast with her canine companions, Logan and Percy.
And eventually, Megan danced again. At first, her chest hurt when she moved, but that’s gotten better over time. Eventually, she started giving lessons in her home, and recently, she opened her own dance studio — the fulfillment of a lifelong dream.
“I love teaching the up-and-coming generation and passing along everything I’ve learned over the years,” she said, noting she teaches jazz, hip hop, ballet, tap and more to children and adults.
In addition to sharing her story with her students, Megan’s also planning to launch a blog about her experience. After all, she explained, most people her age aren’t conscious of what they’re putting in their bodies.
“I want to spread awareness and hopefully prevent this from happening to the next person,” she said.
“With every negative comes a positive, and I’m living proof of that,” she added. “I’ve already accomplished so much, and I’m excited to start this journey.”