On January 17th, 2014, I faced two of the biggest challenges of my life: recovering from a major surgery and missing half of lacrosse season my junior year.
During the fall of 2013, I started to have pain in my left shin after one football practice. Being my stupid self, I decided not to get it looked at because I thought it was just a small bruise. Days went by, and the pain just kept getting worse, and there seemed to be a lump on the top of my shin. Eventually, I was smart enough to tell my parents about my shin and see if I should get it checked out.
Worried, my parents took me to a local doctor so we could figure out what happened to my leg. He had absolutely no idea what the bump was, so he sent me to another doctor that specialized in sports related injuries. Unfortunately, he also had no clue what it was. He later took an x-ray, and the results showed absolutely nothing. So, he decided to send me to yet another doctor that specialized in legs and orthopedics.
The next doctor told me that it was a possible benign tumor, which is a tumor that is not cancerous. I was very excited to hear that it wasn’t cancerous, but I was still concerned due to the non-assertiveness of all of the doctors. My mom then decided to get me an MRI to see what was actually wrong. When I received the MRI test, everything came back normal. So, I continued to play football on it until the end of the season, but the pain still would not go away. The only thing left to do was to go see a surgeon at Sinai Hospital in Mt. Washington.
In mid-November, I went to the surgeon’s office, and he said that the only thing left to do was to complete a biopsy. A biopsy is when the surgeon takes away a chunk of bad bone, and replaces it with scar tissue until it fully grows back. The first time I heard this, I was extremely scared because I didn’t know what to expect. Knowing that I would have a huge chunk of my bone taken out made me realize that I may not be able to play lacrosse that year, which devastated me. But, I needed to do something to make my shin better in the future.
My surgery date came along, and I had never been that nervous before. The nurse took some tests and then led me to the surgery room, where I received IVs and went right to sleep from the anesthesia. That had to be the BEST sleep that I had ever received, but the pain after I woke up was excruciating and unbearable. I was unable to put any pressure on my leg for about 6 weeks, so getting ready for school was a struggle every single day.
Two months passed, and I still was on crutches with a huge boot on my leg. Watching my lacrosse team play was so tough because I wanted to play so badly. I went back to my surgeon to see if I was able to play in mid-April since I had been working hard in rehab, and he cleared me. The amount of happiness and excitement I felt was unbearable. The next day, I practiced and ran full speed for the first time in almost 3 months. Even though I was not in the best shape, I was just happy to be out there with my team. I had a lot of work to do during my recovery so I could get back to 100%, but every second of it was so worth it.
From this crazy experience, I leave all of you with this…
- If something hurts, even if it is a small pain, get it checked out so it will not get worse.
- Do not ever give up, no matter how big the setback is.
- The harder you work, the easier and faster it will take to recover.