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Thursday, 3 July 2014

ACL Injury Pt 2 - The Verdict

Corey picked me up and took me to MRI of Arlington Heights Imaging. The last time I'd layed in a similar machine was for CT scans to test whether my melanoma had spread. This reminded me the knee was not going to be an issue. In the grand scheme of life it could be dealt with. We went to Tri Balance Holistic Health and Nutrition where Dr Andrew Hopkins chiropractor gave me an ultrasound to reduce the swelling.  We ate lunch at Whole Foods, I was a first time customer. A gigantic health goods store. A beacon in the night, a savior of souls amongst a country of over indulgence. 



We returned to SkyPoint Medical and waited In Dr Sameer's office for the radiographers reports to come through. Dr Sameer had looked after my GP & prescription needs in Chicago, a genuine professional who made me feel very comfortable around him. We waited and waited until the sun went down and decided the next day would show more. I missed my first practice that night. Allie and ChrisDell came home and hugged me, we genuinely missed each other and had spent less than 24 hrs apart. Some players can be absent from practice and fly under the radar. I didn't want to be one of those players, my team always need me, I need them. 


Waiting results at SkyPoint Medical



My body clock woke me at 7am, I ate my standard breakfast (1/2 cup rolled oats & Vitamin King protein shake), read my emails and caught up on how Dad had handled his knee replacement in Sydney. was anxiously waiting all day to hear from Dr Sameer so turned my phone on loud. I had my last Vicoprofen the day before at 7am, hadn't needed another dose since. So why was I so tired? I fell back asleep until 10am.  There was an eerie weight bearing on me, on the room, on the apartment. Was it the suspense? Perhaps, but for now I just wanted to lay, I dozed back off after lunch for a 1/2 hr nap.


Waiting, wondering, medicated.

I played phone tag with Corey for a bit until I emailed Dr Sameer his lifting session for the night since I couldn't get out to train him at the studio. He called me back immediately and said the radiographer report just came through showing a complete tear of the ACL. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. I had felt so positive, each day had been less painful, was now moving without crutches and felt so much improvement. In my mind I was already rehabbing for the July 3 Vegas game. My buddy Adam Curley would be in town to cover the UFC double header weekend, he was coming to watch me play, there were other Aussies in town and it was my first trip to the strip! I was devastated, mid food prep cooking chicken breast, trying to remove it from the oven with tears flowing, sobbing like a baby thinking don't burn yourself, keep control, don't drop the tray. With every inch of my being I had thought I was going to be fine. Everything you believe you attract, I get that, I had been envisaging good thoughts and affirmations, hadn't I? Since you attract what you think about most it is easy to see what your dominant thoughts have been on every subject of your life. How had I caused this to happen?



I was completely dejected

I started to over analyze, women are great at that....where had I gone wrong? Your thoughts reverberate throughout the entire universe! Then it dawned on me. A friend had asked me to catch up with him Monday after the game. My response was 'lets see where I'm at, so many things could happen'. The weather forecast was great, we were probably going to drink 'winner piss' (aussie slang for post match team bonding) for a few days before we knuckled down onto our next opponent. It's sacred time we spend with our team mates and I didn't want anything to disrupt that. There was a tiny iota that thought not specifically about injury but more so the body being so sore post game you don't want to have plans except laying in a bath.  Your thoughts create the frequency, they create like pictures on the stage which is our life! I had caused this myself. In my head it was a simple mathematical equations I found my answer. 


I had a call from my friend Lovel Palmer a pro soccer player for Chicago Fire. He was new in town too having moved from playing in Salt Lake City. He had tried to phone me a few times but I hadn't answered, he sensed there was something wrong. He's the kind of guy who's voice alone can calm you, an authentic guy with a positive, glowing attitude to life. His sister a Jamaiican Olympian track star with heart wrenching tales of her own was in the Sydney Olympics, damn they had some athletic genes. He told me of his knee troubles in Jamaica, an MRI report indicated a tear in ACL and tear in meniscus, they performed surgery immediately but after going under the knife discovered the surgery was unnecessary, the ACL was intact. Two lessons here...a) always get a second and third opinion and b) if you sense your friends need you they probably do. We organized to visit the top of the Willis Tower which overlooks Chicago from a completely glass sky deck before I left. 



The thought of leaving was heartbreaking


I reached out to Coach Hac, the man who made all this happen and coach John who had supported me with everything I needed once I arrived. They were shocked, disappointed, said nothing would be the same without me. We didn't expect things to end this way.



Allie came home to me slumped in front of the computer screen reading the radiographers MRI report, She knew by my voice something was wrong. Knowing it was bad news she hugged me while I whimpered, told me she loved me and everything would be okay. 'We were brought together for a reason, I don't ever want you to leave me, I don't want to go back to my life without you' I sobbed uncontrollably. Neither did I. Not that life in Sydney was bad by any means, just different. Perhaps Chicago would get old one day and stagnant as my life had in Sydney, would lose the excitement and joy of something sparkling and brand new. But that day was not today.



I skyped my friend UFC Fighter Hector Lombard in Florida, he 
spent part of the call hanging upside down from some stretching machine. He could see I was hurting and made me laugh to take my mind off the situation, generally by being stupid but still made me laugh. He told me he'd pinched a nerve recently in his neck during a car accident. After taking a blow to the same area at training the condition was looking to impact his fight scheduled for August. Surgery was impending until Dana White hooked him up with a specialist who treated footballers. After some treatment he felt cured and was prepping for his fight without going under the knife. He warned me to get some further opinions before securing any plans. It turned out later he had herniated discs and unfortunate had to pull out the fight in the end. 







Corey phoned again and said they were teeing me up with an Orthopedic surgeon who looked after the San Diego Chargers Dr Brian Moss. I needed that piece of mind, I deal who are specialists in my sport, the best. They don't waste time, know their content and treat correctly the first time. Corey could hear by my crackly voice I was still processing the grief 'remember to breathe tonight, breathe deep, let it go and start the healing process when you wake tomorrow.' 



Allie went asked me if she should stay home from her date that night, I told her to go and wondered if it would be as successful as the last one. Chrisdell had heard the news and came over to stay the night. She hugged me and told me to reach out to god, leave it in his hands. I would do that later that night. As I explained my situation, that I felt it was too early to leave her she could see I was hurting. She said 'I look at you like my big sister, you're always strong and sensible, my voice of reason, to see you so hurt is tearing me apart' I couldn't be strong now, I'm always the strong one for everyone, I stand and I deal. I knew tomorrow or the next day I would fine but right now I was a broken woman. I didn't quite know how to deal with this flood of tears, so I let it go. Being a logical human being VS an emotional one had me struggling with these feelings. Together with news of ChrisDell's uncle passing earlier
 it topped off what had been a horrible day for her. I felt selfish.


ChrisDell told me Shari I have a soft spot for you, I can never say no to you


ACL tears are so common in stop start sports. The NBA had blowouts all the time I was reminded of Chicago’s Derrick Rose. Kentucky center Nerlens Noel, New York’s Iman Shumpert, Minnesota’s Ricky Rubio, Oklahoma City’s Eric Maynor, Leandro Barbosa & Rajon Rondo Boston Celtics and Lou Williams Atlanta Hawks guard all went down. Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III, South Carolina RB Marcus Lattimore, New York Giants CB Terrell Thomas suffered the injury during pre-season practice 2012.






The hurt I felt was nothing related to having surgery or rehab, my body was a well oiled machine. I would lose my fitness and strength quickly but it returned even quicker. I'd had surgery pre Australian season. A breast augmentation, then a double groin hernia which revealed an often un diagnosed very dangerous spitzoid melanoma on my calf. Further surgeries to remove lymph nodes in my groin confirmed the cancer hadn't spread but left me completely inactive for 3 months. Not just unable to train, unable to cough, laugh or sneeze without immense pain.

I was hurting because I'd played only one game in US, well one game and a few minutes of another. I'd sacrificed so much to get there and had not reached anywhere near my potential as a middle linebacker. I hadn't satisfied that hunger, it hadn't even touched the sides! Pain is temporary memories are forever. Right now I don't want these as memories, I wanted them in my reality, my existence, my everyday. I'd grown very attached to my new friends in Chicago, the city, the people had done so much for me. That's the part that hurt the most. The unfinished business, the relationships I'd started to build would be cut short. Some I felt a connection with and knew I would be friends with forever. I guess now pen pal friends from a distance. 

It was 2.37am and I was still blogging and researching. I took a vicoprofen hoping it would settle me off and calm my being. Typing slowed becoming more inaccurate as my lids dozed. Before shutting down the computer at 4.06am I came across a Zig Ziglar quote 'How you see your future is much more important than what has happened in the past.' Tomorrows another day and I saw a glimmer of hope.
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