Kayla - east lansing, Michigan
Entered on August 20, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
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All of my closest friends would be able to tell you how much volleyball meant to me. Ever since seventh grade I knew that I was going to play on the varsity team because of my dedication and hard work. In eighth grade I got the chance to start playing softball. It became something I enjoyed almost as much as volleyball, but having a varsity letter in volleyball had been a goal I worked so hard at.

Ever since seventh grade I remember having pain in my right shoulder, the one I hit and threw with. I had seen many doctors for the pain but all had just diagnosed me with tendonitis and gave me some anti-inflammatory medications. After about two years of the pain, I knew that there had to be something more serious going on because it was becoming difficult for me to write, get dressed, and even raise me hand above my head.

Last August I finally saw an orthopedic surgeon that listened to my symptoms. What I didn’t know was that I would not be playing any sports my junior year of high school but not due to my shoulder. I had come down with a simple cold that started about the same time I went to the surgeons for my shoulder. I didn’t think much of the cold until I was back at my family doctors because my throat was so swollen that I could barely breathe. I was sent for blood work and it turned out that I had mono and pneumonia. I didn’t realize how sick I truly was until my doctor told me that I was not allowed to move from my bed for about three weeks. After a month of weekly checkups and resting in bed, there was only about a week before volleyball tryouts. I had gone to an open gym and was so happy to be back on the court, but at the same time knew that something was seriously wrong with my shoulder. The week of tryouts rolled around and I knew that this was going to be a struggle for me. I did not have the energy or the strength to last through a whole school day because of the mono, let alone make it through a three hour long volleyball practice after that.

It broke my heart to accept the fact that I was not going to play volleyball that year, but I still had softball to look forward to. After three months of resting nonstop and half days at school, I returned to the surgeon. He gave me a script for physical therapy and wanted to see what it would do for my shoulder. It did not end up helping, so surgery was our last option. I was glad that someone had finally listened to me and understood how much pain I was truly in, but at the same time what did that mean, no softball? While doing surgery he found that my shoulder had fallen out of place and I had crushed some of my bone. He repaired everything and I was glad that the pain had finally been taken care of.

At a post-op appointment, the surgeon told me that if I would have continued to play volleyball and softball with my shoulder being injured the way it had been that I may not have played sports again in my whole life. Being as stubborn as I am I know I would have played on my shoulder through the pain as long as I could have put surgery off. Being sick with mono possible saved me from having to sit on the sidelines for the rest of my life. Mono was definitely one of the biggest struggles that I have had to overcome, but I believe that everything happens for a reason.