Over the past four years I have seen more doctors than an average person will see in a lifetime. From endocrinologists to neurosurgeons, I have tirelessly sought medical treatment for multiple traumatic brain injuries I incurred at a young age. Through my personal struggle I learned that there is no adequate treatments for concussions and traumatic brain injuries in the State of New Mexico. Although the lack of these services forced me to seek treatment outside my community, it has become my main motivation to return to my community and share the knowledge I have been fortunate to receive through these many experiences. At the age of fourteen, I was the unfortunate recipient of four traumatic brain injuries, within a six-month time frame, that would result in a diagnosis of post-concussive syndrome.
I had a condition called Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome that caused hip capsulitis and an unrelated issue of iliopsoas bursitis. I had finally received closure about what was torturing me for the past two years. I was left with a sudden feeling of relief; I could finally return to the runner I once was, and the runner I wanted to be. However, because of the Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, I had to begin to go to several different appointments about my heart, for I even found out that I have a heart disease. The appointment with Dr. Lavallee has left a permanent memory of the WellSpan Orthopedic’s doctors office because it was the first glimmer of hope I had through the process of developing a diagnosis for my incomprehensible hip pain, for I will always have an intimate bond with the simultaneously cluttered yet simple doctor’s
I no longer enjoyed thinking about the future because I didn’t know how long my dad would be in it; ALS patients can survive for a few short months or in rare cases decades. Watching him struggle to do simple tasks like walk and talk was devastating, but I had to be strong for him. My father required a lot of care as his disease progressed and I was always there for him in every way I could. My dad developed bronchitis eleven months after I received the news of his disorder. For patients with ALS breathing is typically a difficult task, having
It started first as not being able to get a hit, then progressed to striking out in almost every at bat. As days turned into weeks I tried harder and harder not to fail, only resulting in more failure and this seemingly never ending cycle of failure on the field eventually started affecting my life off the field.
However, this all changes once his creation becomes a reality. “The Different accidents of Life are not so changeable as the feelings of human nature. I had worked hard for nearly two years, for the sole purpose of infusing life into an inanimate body. Previous I had to tag myself of rest and health. I had desired it with an ardour that far exceeded moderation, but now that I had finished, the beauty of the dream vanished, and breathless horror and disgust filled my heart.”
I had no idea what he was talking about and asked him to explain. He told me that I had torn my ACL and that I would need surgery within the next couple of weeks, putting an end to my freshman year of softball. Through all the strength training before surgery, the actual surgery, through physical therapy for months afterwards, I realized I loved learning about how all the treatments and tape jobs worked and how they were done. I found myself asking questions about almost everything that was being done to me. Not just for my own injury, but just to gain knowledge about anything I could pick up.
The pain did not go away. I was at the doctor again the next week for worrying back pain starting. The pain was near my kidneys which was not only worrying me, but everyone else. After a many doctor visits, my mom was worried about me for a completely different reason. She thought I was missing too much school.
Six weeks following, the pain and pressure still existed. This time, it was a synvisc injection to my knee, or what I call gasket maker, hoping to maybe get some relief. This would continue over the next year until my doctor decided to conduct another MRI. At this time, they had concluded that my days in the oilfield were through, that my knee could no longer bear the stresses of what they require on a daily basis on the rig. My knee began developing fibromyalgic cysts around my where they did the scope and scrape procedure.
That day I had knee surgery, and the pain and doubt brought on by the surgery; completely and utterly devastating. While I would inevitably have to have surgery, I just wished with all my might to hold off on receiving it. I wanted to twirl my senior year, the surgery rendered my goal, my hopes and dreams. Consumed by doubt and a crushing lack of motivation after receiving my surgery, I almost entered into a state of depression. Being different has never been my goal in life, and blending in with a pair of crutches by your sides creates a very difficult challenge .
For example, Brittany Maynard (November 19, 1984 – November 1, 2014) was a woman with terminal brain cancer, which cannot be cured. She lived with unbearable pain such as constant headaches everyday of her life. She moved from California to Oregon where Physician-Assisted Suicide (PAS) is legal and began taking prescribed pills from her physician. “My body is young and healthy; I am likely to physically hang on for a long time even though cancer is eating my mind. I probably would have suffered in Hospice care for weeks or even months.
The forty-two day stay. “ Please Mom make it stop…” “ There there dear, It’ll be okay…” “ How do you know mom, it hurts so bad…” “ Trust me, you’ll be okay, I’m right here.” Two weeks into my senior year I severely ruptured my appendix, in the process of all that pain I figured out my passion for the rest of my life. It sounds like a cliche,“ I was hurt and I had an epiphany “ but what I went through was an actual life altering experience, its changed the way I used to view myself, most doctors and my future. I always knew I wanted to be a part of the medical field as my mother is currently, I just couldn’t commit to anything, after all there’s so many fields, but after my substantial amount of time in the hospital, I realized that I was meant to be a pediatric surgeon. I was meant to save children just like me.