Back during my senior year of high school (2004), I was wrestling at 140 lbs. Of course, I started at 155 lbs, and my coach asked if I could lose the 15 lbs. in a week, for our first meet, and then keep it off for the three months of the season. I did, but at a painful price.
From the extreme weight loss I put my body through, my bladder and kidney had sealed shut. I was dehydrating my body to make weight, so replenishing my body with water was not an option, and in result my kidney had swelled and was rubbing up against my hip. I urinated blood for three months, which if you have never done, is extremely painful, and I would rather just hold it in then go, because of the pain.
The doctors told me I would have to have surgery, where they would cut a hole in my bladder and kidney and reconnect them with a small tube. I chose to opt out of surgery until after the season, so they prescribe me Vicodin, to help with the pain.
I took one pill, and realized I hated the way Vicodin made me feel, so I decided to throw out the bottle, and just deal with it. To ease the pain, I would just keep ice taped to my side, to "numb" the pain. Every morning I would wake up at 5 am, run 2-5 miles, go home shower, tape ice to my hip, down five or six ibuprofen then head to school. After school it was three hours of practice, head home, depending on what energy I had left, I may go for a run, go to sleep, and repeat. Fridays and Saturdays were wrestling meets and Sunday was lift days.
Of course all my teachers had an opinion on what I was doing, all of them being negative. As if my body wasn't in enough pain, I had terrible cotton mouth, my lips were cracked and dry from not drinking water, and I was just mentally and physically exhausted. The last thing I needed to hear every period, everyday for three months, was how terrible I looked.
I read the morning announcements for the high school before classes started, which were broadcasted in every classroom over the televisions, so I needed to be in school an hour earlier than everyone else. One morning, as I was limping down the hall to head into the Television room, my biology teacher was walking towards me.
Mrs. Gwenn was her name and she was retiring after my senior year. She was a short, brittle woman, with short blonde hair, and big wired frame glasses, who I never really had many exchanges with, besides me sitting in class, and struggling to understand the lesson (I was awful in biology).
As I'm getting ready to walk past her, she stopped me. I guess I wasn't looking too great that morning, because when she stopped me, she let out a long sigh, and a large sad faced frown. The face that your grandmother would make when you would trip, fall and scrap your leg.
I thought I was in for another lecture on how I should quit losing weight, and quit wrestling all together. Instead, she gave me a hug, and told me she was proud of me, and what I sacrificing for the school.
I was caught off guard, and I started to tear up. I was doing my best not to lose it right there in the hallway. She then told me, she had a bag of lollipops in her desk, and that if I never needed one (they help when you have cotton mouth and can't produce spit) just ask. I said thank you and went on with my day.
I will never forget that small exchange we had that day, and how great it made me feel. I'm not sure if Mrs. Gwenn knew the impact she had on me that day, but it has never left me. With school starting back up, I hope the teenager/young adults aren't too hard on teachers and remember that they have tough days like the rest of us.