Miracle Recovery

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Miracle Recovery

Postby Dempcj » Thu Nov 03, 2011 4:54 pm

My Junior year wrestling season I was well on my way to the state tournament, making strides like never before in my 14th year of wrestling. Halfway through the year, however, I faced trauma. During the middle of a match against a top ranked wrestler in my state, I collided shoulder to shoulder with him. Falling to the mat I could only feel searing pain shooting through my arm and a migraine worse than any I had ever had before, even though I had become accustomed to them after everyday for 15 years. I was rushed to the E.R. and x-rayed several times over my clavicle as the doctors searched for the site of the break that they were so sure was there. Failing attempt after attempt to find it however, they finally concluded that I had a broken clavicle but they just could not see if for some unstated reason. I was scheduled with my physical therapist whom I had been to numerous times before as wrestling is a rough sport. He told me, after a few preliminary tests, that he did not believe what I had was a broken collar-bone. As he said this I thought that maybe my injury was less intensive than the doctors had believed and my injury would not have me on the bench for the rest of my season. However his idea of a new injury was a little worse than expected, being that he believed I could have symptoms of a spinal compression. I was sent once again back to the hospital, however this time I was brought to Spectrum Health in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Living only 30 minutes away in Grand Haven all my life I had heard of the greatness that this hospital was aspiring to achieve over the recent years but not until I stepped foot inside did I realize that it was already there. I have always hated loud noises, so the MRI's that I received were about the most annoying hours I have spent in my life. The next week I returned to my physical therapist eagerly awaiting my results. What he told me, however, was only the beginning of my long road. "Chiari Malformation" were the first two words after our normal greetings. I asked him what he was talking about, knowing I didn't really want to hear the reply. Telling me what he knew about this condition was altogether comforting and worrying at the same time. I was happy that I finally knew what was wrong with me, but at the same time I knew nothing about it besides the label. Sent to a neurosurgeon in Grand Rapids, I had discussion with him finding out why I had migraines every day for the past 15 years or so, and explaining in detail the condition that I now learned I had. The only thing that was on my mind, however, was my senior year of wrestling. I have been dedicated to this sport my entire life and I wasn't about to let something like this slow me down. Finally after more MRI's and visits with the neurologist, I had all of the information that I needed. Sitting down, I asked my neurologist "If I was your son, would you do this operation on me?" I wanted to know just how bad he thought it was, and he replied "Yes". He told me that I was in the 1% and that if I did not get it operated on, the conditions and symptoms would only be getting worse. What he told me after though, brought tears to my eyes. I asked him what the expected recovery time would be along with my return to wrestling the next season. Looking me straight in the eyes, as if he saw into my soul, he gave me a 0% chance to recover in time for the season with my scheduled surgery date. No more, would I be able to run out onto the mat and demonstrate my love for the sport that gave me something to wake up for in the morning. I had a decision to make, either I could go without the surgery and wrestle with the chance of making things worse, or I could have the surgery and hang up my shoes for good. It was simple for me, my life, was way more important than any sport could ever be. On August 16th, 2010 I walked into the hospital where I would have surgery. Laying down in the bed that I knew would be mine for the next week, I closed my eyes as I was wheeled into the pre-operating room. Talking to my anesthesiologist, I asked him some questions and joked around with him. His smile seemed to me the most caring out of any that I had seen besides my family. Looking towards the ceiling, I prayed for strength and strong will as the needle was slipped into my arm. 10, 9, 8.. My eyes opening as I looked around the room to see my family and friends that I loved waiting there to see me when I woke up. The first thing that I asked was for my phone so that I could text my friends that I was awake, the second, was how the surgery had gone. I was told that the surgeon had finished in great time and that my vitals were more stable than any patient after this surgery. Staying only two nights in the hospital I was cleared to leave the following morning, four and a half days earlier than expected. My neurosurgeon told me that I was well on my way to a very healthy and speedy recovery. What he did not know, however, was that I would stun even him. Returning home from surgery I was supposed to be spending the next few months doing relatively nothing. When I got back into Grand Haven though, I decided the best thing to do was to go eat at the bar & grill that I worked at. Walking in the door was like it's own mini-surprise-party. Everyone ran up and gave me a gentle hug, happy to see me in the state that I was. When I got home I walked into my room and climbed into bed. Tired from all of the talking I was doing throughout the day I fell right asleep. Waking up the next morning, I looked over at my night stand. I had my prescriptions from the doctor for my pain and muscle spasms. Sitting up, I drank some water and took the pills, wishing that I had never had to go through the past few days. One week after my surgery, hating medications as much as I do, stopped taking my prescriptions for everything. To my surprise, I felt relatively little pain. As if I had only a lump of hair yanked on the previous night. I continued to withhold myself from taking medicine from there on. The first month after surgery was my first check-up date. Walking in, I felt great, as if nothing had been changed besides the loss of an everyday migraine. Talking to my neurosurgeon once again, he did a few tests, asked numerous questions, but in the end seemed a little baffled. He asked over and over if there was anything that was causing me discomfort, over and over I told him no. Finally at the end of the meeting he told me that I had been recovering at a rate that he and the other doctors had never seen before. I simply replied that faith and care are the best medicines that one could have. Signing his name on the release forms, I once again broke down and started crying in his office. I had done it. I had trained so hard that I had made the fastest recovery in the history of my surgery. I tore a ligament in my shoulder senior year during regionals, but not after being written about in numerous articles, one winning a state title in journalism. This was my miracle, and I wish nothing but this upon everyone who is going through what I have. Jack Dempsey.
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