Alone And Hurting
Hayley was in serious pain, but it was the fact that no one believed her that really hurt.
After being told time and time again that her agony was in all her head, one doctor recognized the symptoms. She would need to be rushed into surgery – and her dad wasn’t happy.
Fit And Healthy
Hayley was a passionate swimmer. The 16-year-old took to the water when she was just 18 months old, and she was hooked ever since.
But one day, during a routine practice, Hayley noticed that she wasn’t gliding through the water as gracefully as usual. Then, a twinge in her side forced her out of the pool.
Hayley thought it must have been a pulled muscle, but as the day went on, she complained about the pain more and more.
As it’s common for athletes to suffer discomfort in their bodies, her mom and dad told her to get some rest. But the next day, Hayley woke up screaming. She couldn’t get out of bed.
Hayley’s parents realized that their daughter may have done some serious damage. They saw the distress on young Hayley’s face as the agonizing pain made it impossible to do even the simplest of tasks.
That afternoon, they took her to the hospital to get a scan – and the results left them gobsmacked – especially her dad, Brian.
The doctors said that everything was OK and that Hayley had nothing to worry about. The scan showed no tearing or bruising.
Hayley was advised to take a break from swimming until the pain went away, citing a probable overuse of her muscles. But Hayley refused to leave the doctor’s office without a better explanation.
“You must have missed something!” Hayley insisted, fighting back the tears. “The pain is unbearable!” But the doctor just repeated his previous diagnosis and showed her the scan had not detected anything out of the ordinary.
In the end, they told her something that pushed the young swimmer over the edge. She couldn’t believe they would even suggest such a thing to a kid.
‘I’m Not Crazy!’
Hayley left the hospital in tears. Although she was a teenager with typical teenage problems, there was no reason to think the physical pain she was suffering was psychosomatic.
At this point, even strapping on a backpack or using a hairdryer left her crying in pain. Brian was furious that a doctor would tell his little girl this was all in her head. So he did what any father would do.
Brian took Hayley to see another doctor for a second opinion, but they said the same thing. He couldn’t bear to watch his daughter in agony anymore and was desperate for her to be able to go back to her normal life.
Hayley’s mom Beth frantically scrolled through medical websites looking for some kind of explanation, but nothing came up. Until one year later, they met Dr. Lisa McMahon.
Hard To Watch
“It was just really hard as a parent to watch your kid be in pain and not be able to do anything about it,” said Brian. “But when we took her to the Phoenix Children’s Hospital in Arizona, things started to look hopeful.”
Dr. McMahon put her hand on Hayley’s shoulder and told her everything was all right. She was sure she had found what every other doctor had missed.
Hayley was suffering from a rare slipped rib, meaning the cartilage surrounding her lower ribcage wasn’t staying fixed where it should be and was causing the pain.
Dr. McMahon was able to quickly diagnose Hayley’s condition and recommend the correct surgery. But the reason why she was able to detect it so fast is even more surprising.
Dr. McMahon had suffered from the condition herself when she was Hayley’s age. The symptoms Hayley described led her to investigate something that any other doctor would have overlooked.
But diagnosis was one thing, a successful surgery would be another – and Hayley was dreading it. Would it take away her pain? Would she be able to swim again?
On The Mend
Fortunately for the youngster, the surgery went a long way to rectifying the problem and she can now live without every movement causing her to wince in pain.
“I am most definitely feeling better,” she said. “It’s nice to be able to live again without having to worry about your ribs popping.” Can you imagine living a whole year in pain without knowing what was causing it?