In 2009, I was crushing PR after PR in my races and in the weight room. My medals and ribbons proudly presented on a cork board in my room, right next to the printed USA swim trials times that needed to be met to qualify. I stared at that sheet every day knowing I could do it.
Until I couldn’t.
I remember the doctor saying “it’s too dangerous to keep competing at this level” like it was yesterday.
An undetected musculoskeletal deficiency changed everything, being brought to light after an unfortunate series of events led to my CK enzyme levels spiking to just below 35,000.
Beyond elevated. Severely dangerous. Completely unheard of.
I was diagnosed with adenosine monophosphate deaminase 1 (AMPD1) deficiency, an inherited condition affecting the skeletal muscles. AMPD1 leads to Rhabdomyolysis, a breakdown of muscle tissue that releases myoglobin which can damage the kidneys, thus causing muscle paralysis… which I was experiencing to extreme levels.
In that moment, I was devastated.
That same devastation followed me for years, turning into severe depression. All I saw in my future was the title of athlete; I didn’t know who I was without that title.
I often looked in the mirror and asked myself “who am I?”. It took years to come up with that answer, and the girl you see now is who I fought damn hard to become.
But it took time.
I share this with you because one day I had to start over. One day I had to stop fighting what I couldn’t change and move forward.
One day I had to imagine where I would be “if I started today” and took action to make the most of what I had, where I was at, and the future of where I was going.
Change is scary. Not feeling in control is scary. But it’s in the moments of scary that we grow the most.
No matter what your story is, you have the power to change the narrative.
You have the power to overcome what is holding you back.
You have the power to make this chapter better than the last.
Everything is hard before it is easy. You just have to choose your hard.