It was a typical Friday game day for me and the rest of the LCU volleyball team. However, after our game, I was experiencing some lower abdominal pain. I had no idea that pain signaled an adventure that might affect the rest of my life.
The pain continued throughout our Saturday game, and then into the middle of the night. It was not severe enough to keep me from playing, but by about 2:30 in the morning, I knew something was not right.
I drove myself to a local 24-hour urgent-care clinic expecting to get some medicine and head home. After arriving and waiting on doctors’ responses and tests, I found out that my appendix needed to be removed.
My first ride in an ambulance I have to say was pretty cool. The team of workers took me to Covenant hospital. Waiting on surgeons to become available, I did not go into surgery until about 4:30 Monday afternoon.
The surgery was projected to take an hour, but unfortunately, that is not what happened. After seeing the appendix, the doctor discovered it was “stuck to” five of my organs (large intestine, fallopian tube, right ovary, cecum and colon). Thankfully, everything was fully removed and placed back in the right spots in my body.
My surgeon, Dr. Ariel Santos, said, “That was the longest and most inflamed appendix I have ever seen.”
Recovery after the surgery was rough. I was extremely sore and had a lot of “surgery gas” in my upper body due to them blowing up the areas that needed to be worked on so they could move around. I spent five long nights in the hospital trying to recover. My fever spiked at over 100 degrees almost every night, due to how bad of an infection I had on my appendix.
I returned home on the following Thursday, blessed to be in much less pain. Now, three weeks later, I am back to full health.
How did this news affect my volleyball season?
After hearing the doctor say it would be six weeks before I could lift anything over a gallon of milk, and four weeks till any physical activity, I knew my season was over.
There is no such thing as good timing in these types of situations. All I knew was to trust the Lord’s will for me. I am very thankful that I still have one more season to play here at LCU. I trusted that God was going to take care of me and keep me healthy in whatever way was his plan.
Injury and the mind of an athlete
I was obviously very sad to hear that I was not going to be able to finish out the post-season with my team. It was very tough to sit and watch my best friends on the court playing the game I love. But I knew I couldn’t think like that for long — I needed to not be self-focused, but team-focused, finding ways to help them from the bench.
I found that I took on a new role at the end of this season, and that was to say at the very least eye-opening. My life isn’t about the sport of volleyball at all, it’s about the relationships I have made while playing. I have grown so much as a leader on and off the court – and as a Christ-follower, captain and teammate – because of the relationships the game has blessed me with.
LCU community and support
I can’t begin to say how thankful I am for the LCU community. I received visits from administrators, professors, teammates, coaches, friends and family. My professors were awesome to me during the time of recovery. Teammates and coaches were up at the hospital keeping me entertained all the time, which I loved. And my family stuck by my side when I needed them most.
I tell people all the time, yes, something unexpected and unfortunate happened to me, but I have gained better insight into how important the people in my life are. And I never want to take that for granted. I am extremely blessed and thankful for all the support and love that was shown to me through this journey.
And lastly, to my appendix: thank you for being so kind as to not rupture inside of me. Sadly, you won’t be missed. And I now get to check the box stating I don’t have all my organs.
Until next year, LCU volleyball.