Getting back to my first love…

I went to my first volleyball camp when I was in middle school, and that is when I fell in love with the sport. Everyone expected me to be a great basketball player but my heart just wasn’t in it. Volleyball is where I excelled. I began playing on my school team in 7th grade. In 8th grade my team was undefeated in our conference and despite a severe concussion, I refused to leave the championship game until we had won. Then I went to the ER where they kept me until I knew my name.

In high school I played volleyball and tennis all year. I had at least one serious injury every year from 5th grade through 12th grade, but nothing could keep me from playing. I had 4 surgeries on my feet, severe tendinitis in my knees, tore all the tendons and ligaments in my thumb, herniated a disc and dislocated a rib in my back. I got pretty used to playing through pain, but because of my back injury, I wasn’t medically cleared to play volleyball in college. I was devastated.

I continued to play in rec leagues and when I moved to Charleston, SC I joined a beach volleyball league and began playing 2-3 times a week. It felt so good to be playing again and the sand was much softer to dive on than the gym floors that I grew up with. I went to my chiropractor often and with his adjustments and some OTC pain medicine, I could play for hours even in the Carolina heat.

In January 2017 we had a weekend that was warm enough to play, and that was the last time I played before I was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre Syndrome in February 2017.

I wasn’t sure if I would ever walk again, so I couldn’t even think about the possibility of playing volleyball again.

This past Saturday I played in my first doubles tournament since I was paralyzed.

As frustrating as it is to not be the player that I used to be, the fact that I’m even playing at all is incredible.

Tips for my fellow GBS warriors getting back into activities:

  1. Accept that you’re probably not going to be the same athlete that you were before GBS.
  2. Get plenty of rest before any event and allow yourself plenty of rest afterwards. Your body has been through A LOT and needs extra rest and recovery.
  3. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
  4. Ice/ice packs are key. I have a hard time controlling my body temperature and it’s easy to get over heated so between games I have to cool myself off with ice.
  5. Have fun!!! Let’s be real, it’s exciting just to be able to breathe and walk again so this is just icing on the cake. 

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