Oneida • New York
There Is Hope
Where do I start? Where do I begin by telling you one of the hardest things I had to go through? It has taken me so long to come up with the words to express how I felt, because I actually didn't know how I felt. I didn't know what to consider the way I was feeling, I didn't know if it was my emotions just running wild, but looking back at it now, I kind of have an idea. At first I began to feel like my whole world was caving in and there was completely nothing to do about it. My life began to fall. It felt like everyday there was a little piece of a puzzle that went missing, that was never found. But I had to keep living each day like the pieces were just little bits of a whole, nohing big at all. When in reality, It felt like I was missing 7 pieces from only a 8 piece puzzle. Every night went by slower and slower as I continued to pray myself to sleep. It began to feel like the days would take weeks to go by. But whether it be every week, every day, every hour, every minute, or every second, I never stopped thinking of me getting back up on that stage.
it was about 2 years ago. 2 years ago when it all happened. 2 years ago when I had to face one of the biggest obstacles in my life. At only 12 years old, I had had one of the hardest injuries to deal with. I had torn 1 of my hamstring ligaments semi off the pelvis bone and the other 2 all off the pelvis bone. At first, I had pulled all of my hamstrings, but dancing on them week after week, competition after competition, it just began to progress and get worse. I knew I should've stopped, I knew I should've, but with my family already having major financial struggles and having to work extra hours, night after night, day after day, I knew I couldn't stop because of all they had put in for me. The doctors didn't want to do surgery right away because the hamstring had so much scar tissue already there from dancing on it so much, but I wasn't going to back down without a fight, and I most certainly fought. Getting MRIs and X-rays felt like an everyday task, all I wanted to do was dance. Every doctor I would go to, I would hear everything I didn't want to hear and I would hear the same thing everytime. I tried to push the words out of my ears as I listened to the doctors say, " I don't think you'll ever be able to walk again, yet along dance." I tried everything in my power to forget what I just heard, but I couldn't. Having to hear that you would never be able to do what you love and what you have invested your whole life in, just tore me to pieces. Basically, that every endless hour of training, every little injury, everything you've given up for it, was all worth nothing. Taking all this in I felt like I was stuck in a box and I couldn't get out, that I was trapped and there was nothing to do about it. I remember clearly just coming home and throwing myself in my bedroom and just trying to escape from everything, but it was impossible. Nothing was going to stop this excruciating pain. I sat on the floor crying hysterically, soaking the carpet with my tears, while having mascara drip down my face, and my hands soaked as I rubbed my eyes, just trying to see clearly, but that was the thing. I didn't want to see clearly, becuase I knew once I could see clearly, I was just back to reality, I was back to where I started. The finish line was nowhere in my sight and I knew I would never be able to be the person I was, if I couldn't do what I loved most. I knew giving up wasn't the answer, but a small part of me just wanted to stop everything. I was blessed though, i had so many people on my side, just trying everything in their ability to make me feel just a little bit better. I dont think I would've been able to get through it without everyone. I just kept saying no one understands, that no one gets what's wrong. I had to sit at rehearsals over and over again and just try to make myself better from watching and taking in their corrections, but I couldn't. I couldn't bear to see others do what I loved. I did nothing wrong to deserve this pain in both my leg and my heart. But by far the part that hurt the most was having to go to nationals and watch, just sit there and watch, not move a muscle in your body, just sit there and watch. Not one person wants to be in the audience when all they have worked for is right in front of them. I sat in the audience watching 7 of my dances go out there without me, hearing the audience cheer for them as I sat there in a wheel chair in the theatre just trying to get through the day, just to repeat again the next day. From the eyes of another, it probably didn't look like I had it that bad, but boy did it feel awful. I personally felt bad that I was letting my team down, if there was anything I could do for them, Ii would be right there in a heartbeat. But all I could do was be their #1 fan and cheer for them as each tear would fall with every cheer I would make. My team and I were very fortunate that a fellow friend of ours filled in for me. After around 6 months of being in a wheel chair, I started to hear what I wanted to hear. I got a new doctor who had faith in my recovery, and I most certainly had faith in him. He has worked with several amounts of professional athletes and has had many success stories, so I knew he was the way to go for sure. He was able to give me hope. He believed that I would be back doing what I love within the next year or so. I knew from there, i was going to do anything I could to get this recovery going a lot faster. I was finally back on crutches, which I knew meant I wasn't that far off from walking again. I began to take physical therapy around 5 times a week with my old ballet teacher and some other athletic trainers, who I need to thank a large amount. They had faith in me as well and I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for them. They gave me some exercises to do at home and I would do floor barre a couple hours every day to try and keep me up on my technique, while attempting to avoid pain. I loved the fact that I was so close to dancing again, I was obsessed with it. I could finally see that finish line. So within the next month my doctor wanted me to get another MRI so he could see if there was any improvement and if surgery was going to have to be done. After the MRI, I had every single person in my dance family and all 5 of my family members, praying, praying that it was going to be okay. That this was going to be a new road, a new passage, that led to new beginnings. We got our results and I was not ready to hear it, but I had to. I didn't even want to think about surgery. I didn't want to consider it. Being in a full body cast for 2 months and recovery taking 6 months the least, and it may be life threatening. Yeah, I was not ready to hear i needed surgery. My whole future relied among these results, wether I was going to dance again or not, wether I would ever be able to make a career out of this or not. He walked in and pulled up the MRI and looked at me and smiled. I remember just my eyes beginning to fill with water and my vision began to become a blur. I smiled as I heard him say, "you can dance again." He basically told us that the scar tissue was able to push the hamstrings, back up to the pelvic bone, which would give me the ability to dance again, but obviously not at my fullest potential. But that wasn't going to stop me from trying my hardest to be the best I can be. Now I knew after hearing the news, there was a long journey ahead of me, but I was more than willing to spend every moment of every day just trying to be better than the dancer I was. I was determined to overcome this, no matter the price, because this is my love and I wasn't going to let it leave me. Tears of joy began to slowly run down my face as I began to look at my parents. I knew all this stress, all these appointments, all those long car rides to the doctors, all this chaos, it was all over. It was by far the best day of my life. Thats when it all began to click, it all came together. All the pieces to the puzzle were beginning to be found. There were no 7 pieces missing anymore, we had found all 7, and we had made this puzzle. The puzzle was put together and all my friends, family, doctors, trainers, physical therapists, they were all a main portion of the puzzle, that make me the person I am today and I am so beyond blessed to be where I am with my family supporting me. As I sit here, at 14 years old, and feel a tear shed down my cheek, I also feel a smile appearing across my face, because right now, I sit here knowing that I faced it. When I felt like giving up and I felt like saying goodbye, I knew I shouldn't because I knew it was going to be okay in the long run. All those nights I was up praying and sobbing, it was all behind me. Its all just a story to tell. And I hope to inspire others with it.