My Medical Journey

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My Medical Journey

Image courtesy of YouTube

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Image courtesy of YouTube

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I have been in pain most of my teenage life.  It sucks.  I am not talking mild pain, take a few aspirin and feel better pain, I am talking chronic pain…the kind that you can’t stop thinking about all day long and puts you in a bad mood.  Not a great way to spend your high school years.  I finally got to the point where enough was enough.  I wanted to be able to enjoy my senior year of high school, not just suffer through it.  

The pain was caused from a tightness in my leg muscles, specifically my lower leg.  The tightness caused cramping and constant pain.  I had all kinds of stretching and stuff to do every day, but honestly, it didn’t help that much.  So, my mom and I finally went to a specialist in the Bay Area — East Bay (Oakland, I think….) — and she said the only way to fix the problem and have a chance at being pain-free was surgery.   I wouldn’t know of which surgery I would undergo until they took me and put me under, but they told me the possibilities:  Percutaneous Achilles Tendon Lengthening or the  Gastrocnemius release.  

The surgery they ended up performing on me was the Percutaneous Achilles Tendon Lengthening and it loosened the muscles in my legs.  However, I couldn’t put any weight on my feet feet which would put me in a wheelchair for most of the recovery time. I couldn’t go to school because of how immobile I was and the pain I was in. I knew no matter which surgery they performed this would be the case, so before I underwent the surgery, I had to find out how I would be able to do my schoolwork.

I had to go to the board of education to find out what was going to happen and what I had to do to graduate. The original plan was to attend Ukiah High School and go on their medical leave to try and finish my classes there, but the school board ruled that I had to transfer over to South Valley because I was behind in credits. My mother was a bit concerned because of the bad reputation South Valley had, but I was honestly more concerned about the amount of credits I needed to catch up on and how I would be able to focus on the work if I was in massive amounts of pain or on pain medication.  So, South Valley was going to be my school for my senior year.  After all the stress from the first week of recovery after surgery and all of its complications, I started the home medical leave program at South Valley.

South Valley is an interesting school that really tries to pull through and help students with their education, motivation, and future. I transferred to South Valley to start my senior year, but I knew I was going to miss the first credit period (five weeks) due to a medical leave. I had to have surgery done on both ankles and wasn’t able to walk, or even stand, for a month, so I could not attend school. During the time of my medical leave, South Valley set me up as an independent study student, which is what they do for the injured and/or sick students who have to miss extended time. It was an interesting experience having to work for South Valley without ever actually going onto the campus.  South Valley assigned a special teacher, her name is Louella Bender, but we all call her Lou, to come to my house early in the morning to work with me.  She came over at least three times a week, and each time she would bring me work from the teachers at South Valley and stay for about two hours and help me complete the work. The work was mainly text book work and reading articles and such and then having to write about what I had read.  I thought the work was going to be difficult, since it is my senior year, but, surprisingly, it was easy to do the work even though it was different from what was going on in class.  The teachers all made sure it was work I could do and were very helpful keeping me up to date with what I needed to do.  

While it was fairly simple to do work at home, there was a lot of “in class only” type of work that I was unable to do.  This made me concerned about what would happen when I finally was able to return to the school. I was concerned about how I would fit in with the whole environment having missed so much and how I would catch up having missed so much “in class” work. Most teachers had me make up for missing this “in class” work by doing work that was somewhat different from what the class was doing. When I finally returned to school, my teachers were all fairly kind to me, so my concerns went away.

I’ve only attended South Valley for about a month and I already feel a lot more hopeful of what I’m going to do in my future and a bit more motivated to achieve it. This place is really unique because of the way they try and help students by getting to know them and doing whatever they can to help them and/or support them and also making it easier to have good student-teacher relationships.  To me, that really makes this school very unique. This is good for the students positivity about school and doing school work and really motivates them to graduate . South Valley is a good place for students emotionally, educationally, and motivationally.  I know my mom had her doubts, but I am really happy to be here.   I never felt like I was doing the best I could at Ukiah High, but now I know I am. Even though it took a lot of pain and surgery, in a way, it was worth it to end up at South Valley.

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