16-year-old Hayley has loved the water since she learned to swim at 18-months. She eventually took up competitive swimming, but her promising career abruptly ended when she began experiencing pain on her left side near her ribs.
Usually when someone cries out in pain, doctors take them seriously. Not so in Hayley’s case. Doctors thought she was just seeking attention. Rather than attempt to help her, they ignored her. It took a year for Hayley to receive an accurate diagnosis.
At first, she only experienced the sharp, shooting pain in her side when she’d practice her swim strokes. However, like labor pains, these also started to occur closer and closer together. Concerned for their daughter’s health, Beth and Brian took her to a doctor. All the physician offered the frustrated young woman was to stop training so hard.
Thinking she might be overdoing it, Hayley took the woman’s advice. Soon after though, her condition worsened. Hayley couldn’t blow dry her hair, carry her backpack, or do other simple tasks. Worse still, she had to quit competitive swimming.
One evening while out on a walk with her dad, Hayley stopped in her tracks. Her sides hurt so much she couldn’t breathe.
During the next year, Hayley was sent from one doctor to another without any success. She was constantly misdiagnosed. Her parents thought there had to be someone out there who could help their daughter.
Everything changed when Hayley saw Dr. Lisa McMahon; indeed, she became her saving grace. Dr. McMahon discovered that what Hayley had was all too real and not as rare as one might think. Many haven’t heard of it.
If you examine the left side of the body internally, you’ll find the pancreas, spleen, stomach, left kidney, and the left lung. Injury or inflammation can cause pain to radiate in and around the ribcage. This isn’t what Hayley had. Her problem was actually caused by her ribs disconnecting from their usual position and moving about the area.
Hayley had something called slipping rib syndrome. This syndrome isn’t well understood. It can be caused by an injury to the area. Your ribs can’t be popped back into place like a dislocated shoulder. In severe cases like Hayley’s, surgery to remove the loose cartilage is required.
After Hayley’s surgery, it was then realized how extensive her pain had been. Her ribs had moved around so much; the ends were polished smooth.
I’m glad Hayley finally received the aid she needed. It’s frustrating when you know something’s not right, and no one will listen to you. You know your body best; don’t let someone sway you into believing you’re okay when you feel differently.