My Worst Day Didn’t Have to Be My Worst Day

My Worst Day Didn’t Have to Be My Worst Day

I’ve had to endure four ACL reconstructions and a meniscus repairs. You’d think my worst days would be bundled into one tough memory. But, I remember the worst day of my journey as if it was yesterday. It’s an easy one to recollect because no feeling has ever amounted to the discouragement and frustration I felt that Thursday during my sophomore year of high school.

It was my second reconstruction and I was about 2 months in. I remember I had just begun to start jogging- actually, it was more of a brisk walk, come to think of it. Being able to start running again gave me motivation and that night I was so excited to show my team my progress at practice. My therapist gave me the clear to do one lap around the field every fifteen minutes as long as I wore my brace. Well, typical me, I forgot my brace at home. However, I thought it wouldn’t hurt to run without it if I was being careful.

Practice was about midway through and I remember being on my third lap. I was a little sore, but I figured it was normal so I kept going. As I turned around the second corner flag, I clipped the plastic pole of the flag and lost my balance. My knee pivoted and my immediate thought was that I re-tore the graft. I remember my entire team rushing over to help me up and looking down to see my knee swelling up like a balloon.

I’d never felt disappointment like I had that evening. I laid awake worrying about the damaged I’d done until 4 a.m.. I couldn’t even bring myself to go to school the next morning. I was so scared that all of my hard work had gone to waste in an instant.

Too scared to call my doctor, I sat on the couch all day with an ice pack wrapped to my knee. I plagued myself with the some of the most self-deteriorating questions:

What would have happened if I just stayed home?

Why didn’t I go home and get my brace?

Would this have happened if I just waited until the next practice to run?

I was making myself miserable with the “what could have’s”.

Finally, I called my doctor and made an appointment for late that afternoon. Turns out, I simply loosened some scar tissue. Yes, the injury itself was nothing. But the mental damage was everything.

On my worst day, I couldn’t handle my emotions. I let frustration, fear, and anger get the best of me. Rather than staying positive and seeking immediate reassurance from my doctor, I allowed myself to dig a mental hole. I drew conclusions that I had no business drawing and I became a victim of my own mind.

I learned that day that I had to control my emotions. It was going to be a long road and there were bound to be more scares and moments of frustration. Through my worst day, however, I developed strength both mentally and physically. I knew that in the future, I could use the power of staying positive to my advantage. If I worked hard in physical therapy and focused on the end result, I’d be less susceptible to accidents or other injuries. And if I concentrated on my ability to overcome adversity, I’d never feel as low as I did that day. I truly believe that because of my worst day, my best days were possible.

There are going to be rough days. But those rough days will only be rough if you allow them. Setbacks are inevitable. It’s rare that someone has smooth sailing throughout their entire recovery process. However, more often than not, those setbacks are nothing but small bumps in the road. Don’t allow yourself to succumb to minuscule problems. Address them and handle them with pride and strength.

As cliche as it sounds, life truly is only 10% of what happens to you and 90% of how you react to it. Remember that on your worst days because you don’t have to have bad days. You allow them.

- Gina 

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.