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A Stitch in Time

Kiara LeBouton (Kiara is a high school senior from the Midwest who wrote this prior to her surgery. She has the insightfulness of an adult and will be off to college next year with a healthy hip.)

Everything will be okay in the end... if it’s not okay, then it isn’t the end.

This saying along with many other sayings is what has helped me through such an “interesting” time in my life. Now before I begin, let me introduce myself!

Hi! My name is Kiara, I’m 17 years old and I’ve had quite the year to say the least. Before my junior year of high school, I was a three sport athlete . I was involved in softball, basketball, and volleyball. Unfortunately, the summer going into my junior year, I suffered a knee injury that just wasn’t getting better and I didn’t get a proper diagnosis until November and had surgery November 17, 2017. Luckily, it was a minor issue and I was back playing softball before I knew it in February! A few months go by and because I was going into my senior year, I decided to try something new... and that was dance. I’ve done dance/ cheer in the past and I loved it and still had great flexibility, so I figured “why not?”

May 30,2018 was the “why not”.

While working on a toe touch, I hyper-extended my knee on a rough landing and stretched a few ligaments in my knee but overall I was okay. Over the course of several months, several PT and doctor appointments, I just wasn’t getting better so I was told to go for a repeat MRI as they expected either a stress fracture or meniscus tear. My MRI came back normal and I was sent for a second opinion in October 2018. While meeting with the second opinion orthopedic surgeon, he didn’t find anything too concerning with my knee so he made his way up to my hip.

He found that I had an extreme loss of ROM and decided it was best to do a diagnostic cortisone shot. During the ultrasound portion; he found a lot of fluid in my hip joint and possibly the labral tear right then and there. When I was told this, my stomach sunk —as I slowly watched my senior softball season fade from view. I never had pain in my hip because my central nervous system and my femoral nerve was communicating to my brain that the pain I was having was a knee issue, but after the cortisone shot the pain in my hip hit me like a freight train. My surgeon ordered an MRI arthrogram and lo and behold— I had a labral tear among many other issues in my hip that needed surgery.

I’m not going to lie. This journey has been anything but easy —both physically and mentally, but I’m here to remind everyone that’s going through this journey that what’s broken, can be mended and what is hurt can be healed. No matter how dark it gets, the sun will rise again.

I may be young and possibly a little too cliche at times, but I’ve been through enough at this point to know that everything happens for a reason and I may not know why this is happening right now, but I will learn in the future some important lessons from this experience.

So far, having this injury has taught me a lot about myself. It’s taught me to listen to my body more and more every single day and to not forget that I know my body more than anyone. It’s taught me what amazing people I have in my life to support me through all of this. It’s taught me to no longer take the simple things in life like sleeping or walking for granted ever again. Most importantly, it has taught me that it’s okay to not be okay. It’s taught me that when it seems I have nothing else, I will always have hope to hold on to. Hope. Hope is being to see that there is light despite all of the darkness. This recovery is full of darkness and I’m not even through the worst of the storm. My surgery is now 6 days away and even though I’m approaching what could very well be the eye of the storm, the sun always comes back out.

I am missing my senior year of high school with everything I love to do and I’ve missed out on so much because of my hip, but I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything in the world, because I have the rest of my life to play softball if I wanted to or go hang out with friends or meet new people, but I wouldn’t want to do all of that with the pain I’ve had for the last several months. I’ve lost my life because of this injury, but I haven’t lost hope. It’s because of the hope I’ve held on to for so long that I know that when this all over, I will get my life back once again.

For everyone going through this injury or anything in life, just don’t be afraid to ask for help and make sure to reach out to people. Just have someone or multiple people that can be your shoulder to cry on. Someone you can vent to. And just never lose that hope.

You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, 'I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.”

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