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I never knew what was wrong with me. For as long as I could remember I’d had pain and popping in my bones. Ever since I was a little girl, it had felt like bones in my arms didn’t fit together. My pediatrician always told me that I was fine.

When I was 11 the pain became chronic. It started affecting my ability to write and do things at school. I knew something wasn’t right. My dad took me to see an orthopedic specialist and we told him about my pain. The doctor took my arms and pushed on an area in both of my elbows. I practically jumped off my chair it hurt so badly. Then he said, ‘You know sometimes that dies, we should get an MRI’.

The MRI’s showed the reason behind my life long pain. In both of my elbows I was diagnosed with Avascular Necrosis. Avascular Necrosis is a disease where a bone looses its blood supply and begins to die off. When it dies off it creates a hole in your bone; causing popping and pain.

The MRI’s also showed that I was something called ‘Ulna positive’ in both of my wrists. Ulna positive is where the Ulna bone in your wrist grows out too long, and begins to cause damage.

I was told that I needed surgery on both of my elbows to close the holes and re-establish a blood supply. I was also told I would need surgery to shorten bones in both of my wrists. I was very scared; I thought that if my bones were dying, that I could die too. When I was 11, I had my first surgery.

Now I’m 15. I’ve had 10 surgeries, treatments, countless doctor’s appointments and hours of physical therapy. Unfortunately, I still have Avascular Necrosis in both of my elbows.

The years since I was diagnosed have been a hard 4 years. I have trouble performing everyday tasks because of the pain. Most nights I don’t sleep through the night because the pain is so bad. Learning to live with pain has been the hardest part of this. I try not to let the pain become all I am.

I was unable to attend school during my freshman year because of the surgeries I underwent, and I had to be home schooled. Now I need an aide at school, because I can’t write or carry my books.

This experience has changed me in many ways. At first I was self conscience about my scars from surgery and self conscience about walking through school with an aide. There was a time I only wanted to wear long sleeve shirts because I was embarrassed when people stared at my scars. Now when people stare at my scars; I’m almost proud. I’m proud of the fact that I was strong enough to endure all of that. This experience has helped me become a stronger person than I was before.

I don’t know what my future holds. My doctor thinks it will most likely include bone grafting surgeries on both of my elbows. Someday I hope to use this experience to help other people. I hope to write a book for other people facing similar problems.



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britainnelms said...
Nov. 12, 2010 at 1:06 am
i have Avascular Necrosis in the head of my femur and i am 19. it totally sucks to have this horrible pain, i cant run more than about 5 minutes because of the pain. i seriously hate that i limp, and im afraid that if i get a hip replacement surgery it will wear out in like 20 years and ill have to get my leg amputated. now, im so happy i dont have it in my elbows and sorry for you, because im a med-student who seriously wants to be a surgeon. which is actually the reason i want to be a doctor i... (more »)
 
JenRubino This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Apr. 29, 2011 at 7:40 pm
The surgeries weren't very helpful. It was in no way the surgeon's fault, it is just a difficult problem to fix. I am awaiting grafting surgeries.
 
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