Dependence

Its been a couple weeks since I’ve posted anything..but its been a real crazy couple of weeks. In that two weeks, I hit my 4 and 5 week marks as well as my 1 month mark. I also had a doctor appointment and moved back to Maryville for school.

Since I last posted, the pain has been so much better. I have one incision that’s giving me some trouble and anytime I try to be up for more than 2 minutes, my foot swells up and starts to hurt. For the most part though, I’m not in near as much pain as I have been. I am also only on 2 of my prescriptions now; I’ve been able to cut it down from about 8 or 9.  My doctor appointment went as well as it could have. Dr. Patel said my x-rays, incisions and even my ankle movement looked pretty good, so that was a relief to hear. I was put into another cast but this one isn’t as bad as the last one. It’s about an inch shorter, open toed, and it has green stripes! (I had my favorite nurse and she hooked me up).

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All of that has made the physical side of this so much easier. Being at school for a few days now and having to actually be up and go to class and lifting has made me really sore and tired. You know you’re out of shape when you’re exhausted just from going to one class a day!

But the real monster in almost anything we do isn’t the physical part, it’s the mental part. That’s where most of my struggles have been recently. The first couple weeks of having to rely on my family to do almost EVERYTHING for me was kind of nice just because I was in so much pain. But now that I’m not in as much pain, I almost can’t stand to have people do a lot of stuff for me because I’m a pretty independent person. This gets a little scary though because there have been a few times where I try to do something and then end up almost falling. I need to learn that it’s okay to have people help me; especially right now. I can’t have a setback from falling just because I’m trying to be independent again. I know my independence will come back in time, I just have to be patient. Patience just isn’t my greatest virtue.

I have also had to be more dependent than ever on God and His strength to get me through this. Out of all my injuries, this has been the most painful and the one that’s scared me the most. I still get scared. A lot. And I have almost no confidence; I mean, I can’t even stand on my own two feet. The only confidence I have is in God’s strength and His plan; that He will get me through this and something great will come of it. There are times when I get close to giving up and just being done; its like a scared, nervous, empty feeling. But its in those times that I have to cling to God and put complete dependence on Him. That’s how I should be living my life anyway, putting complete dependence on Him, but I think we all just caught up in our own plan and doing our own thing that we forget that we need God for full strength and fulfillment. These times of weakness really suck, I’ve probably never felt anything worse. But its also in these times that I feel closest to God, which is a really great feeling. Strength from Him is a conquer the world kind of feeling and if we fully depend on Him all the time instead of when we’re struggling, we’ll be fulfilled all the time.

Unfortunately, its taken an extremely painful and difficult injury for me to realize I need full dependence on God, but its worth it. It is absolutely worth it.

3 weeks until I can start walking, 7 weeks until I can wear shoes!

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3 Weeks Down

“It’s never too late to start over. If you weren’t happy yesterday, try something different today. Don’t stay stuck.” –Alex Elle

Physically, this week has been better. The pain is still very real, especially at night, but I’ve already started to cut back on some of my pain meds! Not all of them, I’m still on some of them pretty much around the clock, but I’m just happy that the process has started. Tuesday night I was able to sleep all night, which is the first time since September when I first hurt my foot! However, I have not had another night like that. The past few nights, I have been awake more than I’ve been asleep. I wake up because of pain but then stay up because my mind won’t shut off. That’s where the big struggles have been this week; mentally.

I have a photographic memory so when the whole timeline of events with my foot play through my head, it is very vivid, unfortunately. The past few days especially, the timeline runs through my head almost constantly. During the day I’m at least distracted by my sisters, parents, nephews, or anything. Nights are a different story. I don’t have those same distractions so the only thing I see is me stepping wrong and feeling that pop, trying to practice and limping pathetically, not even making it through warm ups, trying to play in out Pink Out game and ugh. It doesn’t stop. The severe lack of sleep and constant racing thoughts have put me in a pretty depressed-like mood the past few days. When I wrote the post “No Light Without Darkness”, I thought that was my low point. This week though, I’m fairly certain, was the bottom. I’ve tried so hard to keep it all together and hide the hurting and sadness and keep a smile on my face because of Christmas and Christmas festivities. I haven’t even really initiated conversations with anybody the past few days. If I talked to somebody, it was because they tried to talk to me first. But Saturday night was the breakdown. I think it hit me so hard then because earlier that night, my sisters and I took our traditional awkward sister pictures in our matching PJ’s. I actually had a lot of fun with that but when I went downstairs to go to bed, the timeline started up again like a movie playing in my head. (If any of my family members are reading this, its their first time hearing that something has been wrong..sorry guys, you know I’m not the best at sharing my feelings, its nothing personal ❤ )

I would probably still be stuck in this rut if it wasn’t for a few of my friends. Saturday night/Sunday morning during my breakdown, I got texts from them with some encouraging words. One of my high school friends, Chance, snapchatted me and reminded me of my own words in my last few posts: TRUST IN GOD’s PLAN. One of my best friends/teammates texted me and reminded me that this is only temporary, the pain won’t last forever. My friend, Garrett, texted me and reminded me all that I have overcome and reminded me that I am strong enough to overcome this as well. He also reminded me of the support system I have around me. Lizzy texted me that night and into the next morning saying exactly what a best friend should say: She had some comforting words to try to make me feel better, gave me some great advice, and then told me something I probably didn’t want to hear but absolutely needed to hear: “This is normal. Just don’t let it go on for days and days. At some point you gotta pull yourself out of it. No one’s gonna be able to do it for you.” At the time I thought ‘Cool Lizzy.’ But after I thought about it for a while, I realized she was 100% right. That text lead me to a very interesting realization: I’m still an athlete.

Sitting around so much and not being able to get up and do anything that I usually would has made me forget that I’m still an athlete. I hurt my foot and had surgery..that doesn’t change anything about my soccer career. It’s just put on hold right now for recovery. I need to tell myself the same thing I tell my family every day when I think they’re doing too much for me: “I’m not broken!!” Which is true; I’m not broken. Just out of commission for a little bit. Our strength and conditioning coach at Northwest, Joe Q, would be a little disappointed in me if he knew I was sitting around throwing a pity party for myself. One thing that he has taught me is that there is always something you can do to keep training. I can’t go run, I can’t do squats, most of the usual things we do for our workouts, I can’t do. But after pulling out past workouts from Joe Q, I’ve been able to put together a list of exercises that I CAN do. I’ve been so focused on the things I can’t do that I didn’t even bother to look at the things I can do. Every day is a day to get better, to get stronger. And that day was yesterday after I put together the list of exercises and I will do the same today and tomorrow and the nest day. Just because I can’t use one of my legs right now, doesn’t mean I get to stop training. I’m a collegiate athlete, I train year round, an injury isn’t going to stop that.

My encouragement and challenge to anyone reading this is to look at your goals and things you want to do. Start making progress today while you have the motivation. Don’t wait for a new week or for your New Year’s resolutions. What is the difference between today and tomorrow or New Year’s Day? Nothing. There are still 24 hours in every day. The choice is yours. Chase after your goals now instead of waiting to chase after them. Tomorrow turns in to next week, next week turns into next month, next month turns into next year, and then you put it off too long and you lose motivation and your goals and dreams don’t get accomplished. Today is your day, you just have to make it your own.

I’ll admit it, I’m still struggling. I’m up writing this post at 2am because I can’t sleep. Doing some exercises every day won’t fix everything. But it’s a start. However, prayer can fix it; praying on my own and prayers from others. I’m not where I want to be but I thank God that I’m not where I used to be.

I can do ALL things through God who strengthens me. –Philippians 4:13

We are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. –Romans 8:37

5 weeks until I can walk, 9 weeks until I can wear real shoes.

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2 Weeks Down

Are you sure it hasn’t been a month? Because it definitely feels like it. I really have the same routine every day: Wake up early around 5 or 6am because of pain, take pain meds, go back to sleep until around 9:30am, my dad comes down to the basement to help me carry stuff up to the living room so I don’t have to sit downstairs by myself all day. Instead, I sit upstairs all day with either my dad, one of my sisters, or sometimes my mom can get up. But that’s what I do every day; sit with my foot up and ice on my leg. I’ve been trying to not take one of my pain meds as often so I haven’t been sleeping as much this week. Which is nice because I can actually remember what day it is and my day doesn’t just suddenly jump from 10am to 8pm. Not much has changed with my foot, I still have to keep it elevated most of the day and the pain is still pretty intense. BUT I have had more control over the pain this week, which is a huge positive!

It’s been a boring week really, not as many visitors, no doctor appointment, however I did watch a very tear-jerking episode of Grey’s Anatomy. The most exciting thing I did was go to church yesterday and that completely wore me out. With all of this sitting around, I’ve had lots of time to think. Thinking is okay, over thinking can be very discouraging. I’ve had to try extra hard to stay positive this week.

Another routine of mine this week has been watching The Lion King every night as I go to bed. And yes I mean EVERY night. (If we’re snapchat friends, you’re probably annoyed with all of my Lion King snaps). But with watching that movie as many times as I have this week, I’ve started to compare Simba’s life to my life. Simba started out with a pretty great life, being the future king and then all of the sudden, a catastrophe happens and his life is changed. He goes through his depression phase and then his Hakuna Matata phase (which we all know means “no worries”). After that phase, he makes his return back to Pride Rock, kicks Scar’s butt, and becomes King. His life is better than ever. I think I’m in between my depression and Hakuna Matata phase. I had my “future king” phase with the start of this season, my catastrophe with my foot, and now I’m here. I need to make the transition into the Hakuna Matata phase where I have no worries. I need to put my full trust in God and His plan for me. With all of this over thinking and worrying I’m doing, I’m forgetting to pray and trust in God’s plan. I think that happens to a lot of us. We get so overwhelmed by the stress in our lives that we forget that God already has it figured out (Jeremiah 29:11). It’s ok to get overwhelmed sometimes, but its not necessary to stay overwhelmed. Especially when we have  a God that can give us peace.

As for me, I need to get into my Hakuna Matata phase where I have no worries. I need to get ready to make my return and be stronger than ever! Have a great week and remember.. Hakuna Matata

6 weeks until I can walk, 10 weeks until I can wear a real shoe.

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A Shout Out to Elizabeth

There is a person who is a reoccurring character in my story. I think she’s at least been mentioned in every post so far. So I thought she deserved a special shout out.

Athletic trainers are pretty cool people. And at Northwest, I get to work with some of the best in the business. They do SO much for athletes but it usually goes unnoticed because it is all behind the scenes work. Even with big injuries like mine, most of the time it’s the surgeon who gets all the credit for fixing the athlete and getting them back to playing. I’m not trying to take any of the credit away from Dr. Patel because looking at everything he did to my foot and how carefully he had to do it, he is absolutely amazing at his job and the work he does is incredible. But another person who is absolutely amazing at their job is my athletic trainer, Elizabeth (Elizabeth and Liz are the same person. I just call her Elizabeth because we’re BFF’s).

She has been by my side through this whole process..from me limping off the field after the game I first hurt my foot in, to standing in the OR with me while I had surgery. When the first doctor I saw told me I could play if I could tolerate the pain, Elizabeth tried countless numbers of tape jobs and shoe inserts to try to make running less painful. We never really found one that worked but she never gave up on me. I had to get a cortisone shot and she went with me to the appointment because I was nervous about getting a giant needle stuck in my foot. When I had a cast on my foot and wasn’t allowed to walk, she made sure I didn’t get up while I was watching our games and getting a little too into them. On game days when it was freezing out, she taped hand warmers to my toes to make sure they would stay warm and not freeze off. After one game, she even gave me a piggy back ride up about 100 stadium stairs so I didn’t have to hop. She did whatever she possibly could to make the physical and mental pain more tolerable.

Spending that much time with her brought us closer together and now she is truly one of my best friends, not just my athletic trainer. I talk to her every day and we talk about everything from my foot, to boys, to how ugly we feel in the mornings. I’m not a very emotional person and I don’t usually open up about my feelings but I’ve probably had more heart to hearts with her than anyone else. I was so scared about this surgery, like absolutely terrified, and I don’t know how many times I texted her completely freaking out and she had to tell me over and over again that it was going to be ok. Every time she did what she could to calm me down, not once did she get annoyed and tell me to figure it out on my own. (Well she probably did get annoyed but she never told me she did). On the day of my surgery she drove down from Maryville to KC at 6 in the morning just to make sure I was doing ok before I went in and then stood in the OR for three hours watching the surgery. She has done so much for me and I can’t thank her enough.

This injury is extremely unfortunate, but if it wouldn’t have happened, I probably wouldn’t have Liz as my best friend. If this was part of God’s reasoning for me getting hurt, then so be it, I wouldn’t trade her for anything! She is an amazing person and I’m so thankful God put her in my life!

So thank you, Elizabeth. For everything!

As for all the other athletes out there, don’t forget to thank your athletic trainers every day. They absolutely deserve that and tons more.

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No Light Without Darkness

Like I said in my previous posts, I have so many people that help make this recovery easy and keep my spirits up. And I am so thankful for those people and I really don’t know what I would do without them. But even still, there are some very dark times that come with this recovery.

There are times when I am in so much pain that I just get mad, very mad. And being in that much pain and having that much anger building up inside me is not a good combination. It’s a scary combination. And a lot of times I’ll wake up in the middle of the night having a panic attack, freaking out about the pain, wondering if it’ll ever stop, thinking about the future and wondering if I’m still going to be able to play soccer or even run without hurting. And then there are times where I get mad about all the medication I’m on. (I’m not going to give specific names of meds because I don’t think it’s a good idea to let everyone on the internet what I have access to). I have 3 different kinds of pain meds and I have to take all 3 on a regular basis. Because I’m on so many pain meds, the side effects can get pretty severe. So I’m also on ibuprofen to prevent migraines and a stool softener to prevent constipation (sorry if that’s TMI). The list goes on to include Aspirin to prevent blood clots, an antibiotic for incision infection, Vit. C so I don’t get sick, Neurontin to keep my nerves under control, and anti-anxiety meds for my middle of the night freak outs. I hate that I have to put all of that stuff in my body and its really frustrating when it starts to cloud my thoughts. I am a somewhat intelligent person and I like being able to think clearly and actually use my brain. But right now I feel like my brain is just a giant fuzz ball.

As much as I hate all of these drugs, my best friend, Lizzy, said “But imagine what you would be feeling if you weren’t on these meds. How bad would the pain be then?” That made me think about this situation in a completely different way. I was being so negative about it, I didn’t see the good that these drugs are doing. But its when times get so dark that even the littlest light is something to be so thankful for. And being submerged in so much darkness makes you grab on to that little tiny light and don’t let go. I get into a dark place sometimes but I have so many little lights around me that I wouldn’t have noticed without the dark. The meds are a light. My dad waiting on me hand and foot is definitely a light. My sister, Ashton, coming home and bringing my nephews is a light. My sister, Alex, staying downstairs instead of going to her room like she usually does is a light. My hilarious conversations with my sister, Amanda, are a light. Liz talking to me at 3am trying to help me calm down, is a light. Venting and complaining to Lizzy almost every day is a light. The group message I have with some of my teammates (titled: “Muh Clique”), is a light. Saying a quick prayer of simply “Jesus, help me, please”, and the peace that comes from that is a light  I have so many lights that I wouldn’t normally notice or take the time to be thankful for without the darkness.

Its just something to think about even in everyday life, not just when I’m in this situation. I need to pay attention to the little things and not take them for granted.

God blesses you in so many ways, its hard to see them all and sometimes you forget about the little things.
Always be thankful for your lights. No matter how little they are.

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First Doctor Appointment

I finally got to leave the house for the first time since last Monday! Unfortunately it was just to go to my first post-op appointment. But it went well so that actually is exciting! Dr. Patel said everything was looking great! I got to see my X-rays from surgery and what the screws and fusions look like. It was actually very cool. I kind of feel bad a** with all that metal in my foot. (I assume this is probably what Tony Stark feels like when he puts on his Ironman suit.) What wasn’t cool is what my foot looked like after the nurse took it out of the splint. It was huge, bruised, and covered in dried blood; pretty terrifying. But I now have a regular cast. No, I didn’t get a fun color this time, I just went with black. I really wanted to kick the nurse in the throat because of how rough she was being with my foot while she was putting on my cast but I refrained because I figured it would hurt me more than her. Maybe next time. My little sister, Alex, and my friend, Garrett, took me to my appointment and despite wanting to injure the nurse, it actually turned out to be a pretty fun trip. I go back in two and a half weeks.

Update on leg hair: After one week, it was only about a millimeter long.

The first few pictures are what my foot looked like after it came out of the splint. The first x-ray pic is before surgery and after surgery. And the last pic is a side view of the after surgery pic.

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One Week Down..

Well.. the first week is over. It was a week of pure hell, but at least its over. It was kind of all a blur of pain, pain meds and ice. After the first few days, I think I slept more than I was awake. But I would still wake up in the middle of the night panicking about all the “what if’s”. What if it doesn’t heal right? What if I can’t play soccer? What if I can’t even run? What if I’m in pain forever? The list went on and on. I would text my athletic trainer, Liz, or my best friend, Lizzy, and they would get me calm enough to go back to sleep. (Please note: LIZ is athletic trainer. LIZZY is best friend. Two different people. The last “ZY” or lack of “ZY” is very important. Pay close attention).

Another thing that has helped me so much this week is people coming to see me and bringing me treats! Some of our close family friends/neighbors, Dana and Ross, came to see me the first night I got home. The next day, my Aunt Ginger sent my cousins over with chicken tortilla soup that she made for me (which I have been living off of this week because it was the only thing that sounded good). Another family friend, Tonya, came to see me a couple days later and brought me a chocolate shake! A couple days later, Dana left me a care package full of things I absolutely love and that same day, my best friend from high school, Kenzi, brought me donuts! One of my teammates, Chelsea, came to hangout with me for a few hours one day too. I felt bad because I slept most of the time she was here but luckily she didn’t care 🙂 I had so many people text me and ask how I am doing and ask if I need anything and I appreciate the support so so much. You all make this hellish experience so much easier. But out of everything, my family has helped me out the most. My mom stayed home with me the first two and a half days to make sure I didn’t have to get up any more than absolutely needed to. I’m pretty sure those first few days/nights my mom was reminded of what it was like to be taking care of an infant; taking care of someone who can’t really do anything on their own, getting up multiple times in the night..I’m sure it was rough for her. My dad stayed home with me Thursday and helped take care of me. He even washed my hair in the sink since I can’t shower. My sister, Ashton, came home Thursday and Friday to help take care of me and brought my three adorable nephews. Seeing them made me SO incredibly happy. My oldest sister, Amanda, stayed home with me Monday and took care of me. My little sister wasn’t able to skip school but she has been so much help, doing whatever I ask her to do without complaining. I have a pretty amazing family.

I decided so go ahead and buy the first pair of shoes that I will put on once I am allowed to wear real shoes again. I got them now so they could be like a motivator to get me through these next few weeks; kind of like an eye on the prize kind of deal. My parents bought them for me for my birthday! Thanks Mom and Dad! 🙂

7 weeks of no walking left. 11 weeks before I can wear a real shoe. Let the countdown begin.

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