Magazine, website & books written by teens since 1989

A Life-Altering Change This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


   I can't sleep. My mind floats back tothe beginning of what seemed like the end - an uninvitedincident that changed the passions of my heart.

Iremember preparing for my final routine. My body ached fromhours of stretching and warming up. The judges towered over meas they nodded for my start. I forced a smile, trying to implyI was not nervous. The music began - one, two, three, four;one, two, three, four - and so did a chain of events thatwould continue for, perhaps, the rest of my life. I bent myknee as I had hundreds of times, but something was different.I collapsed in confusion and cringed with pain, my eyesfilling with tears. Adrenaline helped me ignore the pain andfinish my routine. That minute and a half felt like aneternity. Once it was over, I smiled through the tears andhobbled toward my puzzled teammates. No one understood whathad happened. My coach explained I had "sublucsated"my knee cap, or in plain English, my knee cap had slid to theback of my leg. She convinced me it was afluke.

Thirty-four days later, it happened again, thistime to the other leg. I didn't tell anyone - in hopes that ifno one knew, the problem would disappear. I woke the next daywith a swollen leg and a broken heart. It was impossible tohide. The doctor said I would no longer be able to participatein any physically straining activity. This meant I could nolonger dance (ballet and jazz), play soccer, swim or runtrack. Sports were my life. My soul, once filled with dreams,had been destroyed. I fell from the top of the world to aplace where happiness seemed nonexistent and hope was dead. Ihad fallen and didn't want to get up. A sea of hopelessnessseemed to surround my broken body, and I prayed for death torelieve the sorrow in my heart and the pain in my knees.

I smiled through everything. Once I was alone or thelights went out, though, I was ambushed with feelings of ruin.Six months of physical therapy left me with the same brokenknees. The doctor said surgery was the only option and I mightbe able to run again some day, and maybe even swim. A glimmerof hope appeared.

Awakening in pain after the firstsurgery, I tried to look around but tears blurred my vision. Icried out for help and was told to calm down, the pain wouldbe relieved soon. I couldn't stop vomiting long enough to askwhere I was. I sobbed with frustration at the thought of goingthrough this a second time.

I try to remember thatweek after surgery but it seems like a movie I saw too manyyears ago to recall any detail. I remember riding in anambulance after I had a seizure from dehydration. I remembernot being able to stand or walk without help. The surgery wasa failure and I canceled the operation for the otherleg.

     Once I thought my kneeproblems made me imperfect and would lead to my downfall. NowI can truly appreciate life. Each day brings me closer tohappiness. I no longer need to be perfect; I only need to behuman.

Almost three years later, I lay surrounded bydarkness but will always feel a pang when I watch othersparticipate in activities I no longer can. But my eyes havestopped filling with tears of jealousy - instead I smile at myfuture as I drift off to sleep.



This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






Join the Discussion

This article has 1 comment. Post your own now!

KiraKira said...
Jan. 9, 2010 at 9:11 pm
I sublaxated (or however you spell it) my shoulder during swimming. I don't need surgery because by some miracle it had slid back into place before any real damage was done. I'm going through weight training and physical therapy so that I can build my muscles back up and can get back to swimming. I'm sorry of what happened to your knees, and I know how it feels to not be able to do the sport you love. I hope a similair miracle can help you dance again.
 
bRealTime banner ad on the left side
Site Feedback