I sat on the edge of my seat at Savannah’s water polo game. My stomach was in a knot. I couldn’t stop wringing my hands. The game was tied 10-10. Savannah had scored 4 of those points. The clock counted down and I held my breath, waiting to see if the game would go into overtime.
I’ve always said that I believe things happen for a reason. In fact, it’s the first line in the first book I wrote. Still, for some reason, believing this and having faith that it is true seem to be two different things. Back in 2010, Savannah was experiencing knee pain. The pain had been going on for some time, but since I’m a terrible mother, and the pain wasn’t really bad and it didn’t affect her day-to-day living too much, I chalked it up to growing pains and let it go for several weeks. Finally, in March of 2010, I took Savannah to the orthopedic surgeon because the pain just wasn’t going away.
Before the doctor entered the room to examine her, a nurse took her for xrays. When the doctor came in, he looked at her leg, had her move it in various positions and asked her several questions. “Does it hurt when you walk? Go up stairs? Bend it like this? Does this hurt? How about this? How about if I take your leg and put it behind your head while balancing a stack of bricks on it? Does it ever give out on you? Does it click? Does it lock?”
Savannah told him that it wasn’t that bad (more annoying really) and only hurt when she tried to lift her leg too high and sometimes when she walked. He looked puzzled and said, “Huh, I’m kinda surprised because your complaints don’t fit what the xray shows.” He said her complaints were suggestive of a little tendonitis. No big deal. Her xray, however, showed that Savannah had Osteochondritis Dissecans. Basically, part of her bone and cartilage was peeling away. If the nurse hadn’t grabbed her for xrays first, the doctor wouldn’t have ordered them based on her mild complaints.
At the time, we thought it was so fortuitous that Savannah had the tendonitis that brought her to the doctor. We were thankful that the nurse took her for xrays right away. We thought we’d caught the condition before it had caused too much damage and we were hopeful that surgery would fix everything. Things happen for a reason, right?
A year later, however, Savannah was having horrible knee pain. This time we learned that the surgery hadn’t worked to save the damaged part of her knee and she’d need a second surgery just to take out the screws that were floating around in there. This is when Savannah got the news that her future probably didn’t hold any softball trophies or volleyball wins. Instead, her future would probably include pain, problems, arthritis, and future surgeries. Being an avid softball player, she was devastated. We angrily wondered, If things happen for a reason, what’s the reason here?
(My orthopedic surgeon is one of the most amazing doctors, and generous people ever. You can read here about the incredible thing he did for us when she needed that second surgery back in April, 2011.)
So here it is, two years later. Savannah’s knee hurts to run. Sometimes she limps a little. Occasionally her knee will give out on her. It clicks every time she moves it. Softball and volleyball are out of the question. However . . .
. . . she can swim and play water polo. And water polo is her game. She loves it and she’s an awesome player! As I watched her game this Saturday, I kept thinking how Savannah took to water polo naturally and how she’d never have even given it a try if she hadn’t had the knee problems that kept her out of softball. If it wasn’t for the OCD in her knee, she’d probably never know what a good water polo player she is.
At the end of regulation time, the teams were tied 10-10. I’d like to say that Savannah made the game-winning goal, but unfortunately, they ended up losing in sudden death overtime. Still, the fact that she has found a sport she loves and is good at makes me smile. Maybe she’ll get a scholarship to play. Who knows. I still believe things happen for a reason.
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