Wednesday, January 16, 2019

The Beginning Of 12 Long Weeks...

On September 6, 2018, Ty played in a football game with his middle school team: Glenvar Vs. William Byrd. Ty's positions that night were linebacker, running back, kicker, and kick off specialist.  It was just like any game. I didn't get any weird feelings or "vibes". I was there and so excited to cheer him on.  

Tyson's teammates and friends (since Kindergarten), Gabe and Jackson, were already injured. Gabe broke his hand and Jackson broke his tibia, in the previous week's game. These three were committed athletes and over the years have been seen in photos together since biddy ball.  Here are just two photos that I could quickly find.  
We had a few good plays from Ty.  Below, he kicks an extra point.   
Ty was filling the role as running back for one of them at all times. Was it crazy that his two best friends were injured and now he would be taking their place? It almost seemed inevitable that he would be next. Below: After the QB handed Ty the ball, Ty was tackled HARD and out of no where. Ouch! Where were his dang peeps to protect him? Was this a sign? Sigh... On this particular night, I wish I would have been able to see into the future. I would have made him sit out.   

Then, it happened. The below youtube video is of the ENTIRE game, so to see the injury, please fast forward to minute 9:29. I suggest, to get a really good view of it, watching it in slow-motion @ speed .25.  If you don't, it's so hard to see because it all happens so fast.  
Ty shook his finger and new he was injured.  He was taken out of the game immediately.  The coach asked if he could go back in.  Being the tough guy that he is, he said, "I guess!" Ty had no way of knowing the severity of his injury. He thought he jammed his finger.  Seems plausible, right?  So, the coach taped his fingers and back in he went.  AHHHHHHH! Had we KNOWN what his injury was, we would have known that that was THE WORST decision ever.  When the coach was looking at his finger, Ty said "The coach asked me to bend my fingers.  All of my fingers went down BUT ONE! It was so weird. I physically could NOT bend my finger! Like, it didn't work."

With the suggestion of Ty's coaches, after the game, I took Ty to the ER. The doctors came in and did a series of tests with his hand, just physically.  The X-ray revealed that there was NO BREAK. However, the doctors were very confident that Ty tore the tendon in his finger just based off of his inabilities to bend his finger.  Unfortunately, X-rays do NOT reveal a muscle tear.  We were sent home and told to schedule an appointment with a hand surgeon the next day.  We had NO IDEA what would be revealed next to us.  We chose Dr. Apel.
Before the night ended and long into the midmorning, the next day, Darren was at work TORTURING himself reading up on football injuries. He narrowed it down to three injuries: a jammed finger, a broken finger, and jersey finger.  The latter being the worst case scenario.  

After visiting the PA, Kathryn Hoyt (Dr. Apel was not available.), she was very straight forward and revealed to us that Ty's injury was indeed Jersey Finger. She proceeded to follow that diagnosis up with, "This is a very serious injury.  It requires surgery and an intense 12 weeks of occupational therapy."  The nurse made Ty a homemade brace, to rest his finger/hand in, and he was told to eliminate use of the hand altogether.  When you tear a tendon, the next 7 days are CRITICAL to the success of your recovery.  Ty should have NEVER been put back in the game.  What happens is, the more you TRY to use your hand the normal way, the further and further into your arm the tendon retracts. Ahhh, typing this makes my fingers, hands, and wrists just ache, thinking about it.  Because Ty continued to play the game, he was using his hand and trying to use his finger, so his tendon was retracting.  WHERE? Well, we wouldn't know until surgery.  SO, the next step... surgery. We scheduled it for September 11th.  

I called Darren and had Kathryn talk to him. He asked a few questions and then the phone was handed to me.  Of course, there was crickets on the other side of the phone and probably a tear or 10. Darren did eventually speak up and say, "OH NO! Kristin this was the worst case scenario." I had already known that based off of what the PA told me.

This was the update I gave to his team and coaches: 
We are finished up at Carillon Orthopedics. The news is, to say the least, not good. The surgeon diagnosed Tyson’s injury as “Jersey Finger”. She said this injury is detrimental and very serious. It will require a 90 minute surgery (at the minimum) on Tuesday afternoon. Depending on where the tendon has retracted to and is currently residing, will determine how far down they will have to cut on his hand. They will be doing zig zag stitches. It will be a 12+ weeks recovery process, which will require 2-3 days, per week, of physical therapy.  He will have to miss 3-5 days of school post surgery and is not allowed to play basketball this season. I recognize and acknowledge that this is all temporary and it could be a lot worse. It’s not cancer, paralysis, or death, but still not the easiest news to deliver to an athlete, at all. Thank you all for supporting us. Your kind messages and prayers are so very comforting. Ty will for sure enjoy a buddy or 10 to come hang out with him and cheer him up.  And if nothing else, I’m curious if this will be ending his FortNite career.  Trying to keep my humor during this difficult time. *Disclaimer: If you are queasy, do not click on the hashtag “jersey finger”!P.S. This is his writing hand, so does anyone have any idea how this will be handled at school as far as work load is concerned? #JerseyFinger
Ty shed a few tears.  I don't think he was truly aware of what the next 12 weeks would look like.  Denial was a good word. He did convince me to pick him up the NEWLY released NBA 2K19.  If he was out for the basketball season, the next best way to play was this game.  Although, how would he do that with one hand? #Pitiful
On September 8th, two days later, even if it meant he had to sit and watch. I recall dropping him off and watching him walk into that gym. My heart was simply BROKEN. I documented my feelings at this moment:
His struggle takes my breath away.  I've been crying on and off all day for him.  I'd take two broken legs in exchange for this trial he is enduring.  And now... he walks himself into open gum, with is head held high. This is the moment he's been waiting for literally ALLLLLLL Summer, just to sit on the bench and watch his p peers practice.  There's no "I" in team and he's making that very evident.  He has never made me more proud in all of 13 years of being his momma.  As I cry, he cheers others on.  
After he walked into the building, I headed home, but had to pull over at our local library's parking lot and just cry and cry and cry.  

On September 10th, Ty got his second round of braces.  YUP, the day before his hand surgery.  It was a prescheduled appointment and there was no backing out.  We were counting down the days until September 11th.  Sounds odd right? NOPE! The sooner the better, the less that tendon would retract into his arm, and the closer he would be to recovering.  

In the meantime, I investigated Jersey Finger like it was a matter of life or death. I wanted to KNOW ALL OF THE DETAILS, good, bad, and HORRIBLE.  So, I began my own research and interviewing people who had been through this. The responses were, well.... not the easiest to hear.  Jersey Finger happens so infrequently. It's just a freak accident really. So I didn't have a ton of documented resources. I decided to use Instagram hashtags to reach out to people and learn as much as I could. Unfortunately, before I started documenting/using the hashtag myself, there were only about 152 hashtags for it.  I direct messaged those who posted on their injuries. Everyone responded, but their responses always had so much negativity attached to their recovery.  

I had to leave this entire situation in God's hands (PUN NOT INTENDED).  I had to trust that no matter what, HE was sovereign and that HE would secure the outcome! Stay tuned... before the week is over, I will definitely be posting some more about Ty's Jersey Finger experience, including photos of his actual hand surgery!

Here's a sneak peak photo of Ty pre-op!
One thing I will say is that our boys, especially, have been playing sports for YEARS and the fact that this was Ty's first sports injury, EVER, was amazing. BUT... Darren and I BOTH agreed, we would have much rather Ty BREAK his finger, than tear his tendon, unfortunately, that wasn't our decision.  It was God's plan and His plans are always better.

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