The first warning my body gave me was at my 6:00a.m basketball practice on December 21. As I turned around to pass the ball, I felt a sharp pain pulse down my right leg. I immediately laid down and tucked my knees to my chest. After practice was over, I was still laying there. I couldn’t straighten my leg out without the pain coming back. Walking was out of the question at that point, so I was wheel-chaired out of the gym to the office. My dad came to get me and I was out of school for a few days. Icing my back and laying on the floor was my agenda. Once I could walk well enough, I went to the doctor, and he thought it was muscular. I did physical therapy during Christmas break and was ready and excited to come back when school started again. I felt fine after a couple practices, so I played in our first game out of break. I stretched really well, and the game went fine, but little did I know that I would soon be laying on the floor again. During my second game, a girl on the opposing team pushed me from behind, and I immediately knew something was wrong. After a few more visits to sports medicine doctors, they still didn’t know what was wrong, but physical therapy seemed to be helping. A couple of weeks later the doctor decided to do x-rays and an MRI. The MRI showed a herniated disc, so I was strictly told to only walk and to lift nothing over three pounds. Doctors told me that there was a chance it would heal on its own, so just give it some time. By the time spring break rolled around, I felt great and didn’t even notice my back. The drive home from Denver after spring break proved to be too much. As soon as I got home, I couldn’t walk, and the pain was excruciating. I laid on the floor and crawled to the bathroom for a week and still could not physically stand up straight. After a week and a half I was finally back at school but in a wheel-chair. Something had to be done; I couldn’t stay in a wheel-chair for the rest of my life. Surgery was the last resort because I’m only 15, but after much discussion it was the right decision. Waiting any longer was not an option because it wasn’t worth risking permanent nerve damage. On April 4, 2008, at 7:30a.m I went into surgery. To be honest I was pretty scared, but the nurses and doctors took great care of me, and that same night I was able to stand up straight. The next day I got to go home, and to this day I still get cravings for the hospital’s apple crisp. I have not only walked out of this experience with a three inch scar, but many life lessons as well. Being in a wheel-chair made me realize how many people really care about me. Every one of the kids offered to carry my books or held the doors open for me. They have no idea how much that meant to me or how that would make my day. I also came out of this experience with proof that keeping my head up and staying positive makes hard times easier. I had to stay strong and keep my head up when I could have so easily fallen down. Now when life gets rough I will be able to look back and ask myself what helped and what didn’t. I will now forever hold the dubious honor of being Dr. Tice’s youngest back surgery patient. I learned a lot out of this experience, and I hope to pass it on and help other kids handle obstacles in their lives.