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Compartment Syndrome: It Came, but It Didn’t Win (Part 2)

Actual photos of my legs today

In order to reach a definitive diagnosis on me, my doctor had to directly measure the pressures inside my compartments.  This involved inserting a needle that had a pressure monitor attached to it into the areas.  Surgery may be required to relieve pressure.  This was the case with me.  My orthopaedic surgeon made long incisions through the skin and the fascia layer underneath, called a fasciotomy, releasing excessive pressure.  I ended up having a total of 3 fasciotomies.

A lot of things didn’t go well with my first surgery.  My surgeon was very inexperienced in compartment syndrome and fasciotomies, but it wasn’t made known to me at the time.  After my first surgery, my rehab time was cut short.  It was my freshman year and midway through the season, I was informed I needed to play in the conference tournament.  Of course, I did.  Me and my trainers had no idea how I was going to pull it off, but I did.  We taped both of my legs up in the beginning.  That ended up being a complete hindrance instead of protection.  So, I just sucked it all the way up and took a chance.  We removed all the tape, and I just played without anything covering my scars with the exception of keeping my socks pulled up to my knees.  Needless to say, this led the way to my second surgery.  Only this time, I got a new doctor, the team physician for the Charlotte Hornets.  He explained what all went wrong with the first one and why I lost pigmentation in both my legs as well.

After my second surgery, I just knew everything was going to be alright.  I did everything just as I was instructed.  Nothing was ever easy though, especially when it’s both of your legs.  I had put all the bad experiences behind me from the first surgery, and remained completely positive.  As I progressed through my sophomore season, my legs kept doing the exact same thing but only worse.  I didn’t even think it could get any worse.  After a very gruesome season, that I barely made it through, I went in for a critical appointment with my doctor.  Following the examinations and testing, he put it very bluntly.  I had a major decision to make.  He put it just like this, “Do you want to walk on your legs the rest of your life, or do you want to use a wheelchair?”  Either I give up playing basketball or I was going to lose my legs.  I had to have surgery again, but this had to be the final one because there was nowhere else for him to cut inside my legs in order to make room to release the pressure.  The fascia wasn’t going to be able to be cut anymore at all.  It was a wrap.

I had my third and final surgery.  It ended my basketball career.  To know me, you know basketball meant a lot to me.  I’d been playing all my life.  I managed to keep my focus though disappointed and proceeded to get my degree.  Throughout the surgeries and rehab, I was told arthritis was the side effect I’d have to deal with later on in life.  Little did everyone know, there was a much bigger picture developing.  Everything I had gone through was testing me for what was yet to come many years later.  That is why no matter what, always trust and believe!!!

1st photo: measuring the compartments            2nd photo: The procedure

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