Hayley hadn’t been feeling well for several months, but no one believed her. She had seen multiple doctors, and they all told her what she felt was all in her head.
But after the pain remained, finally, one doctor agreed to treat her. And when she discovered the cause of the pain, she was speechless.
Hayley was a 16-year-old girl who loved swimming. She learned how to swim when she was just 18 months old and was pursuing her dream of becoming a professional swimmer when she suddenly fell ill.
One day, during her routine practice, Hayley felt a sharp pain in her abdomen. The pain was so intense that her team had to help her out of the pool.
No one could figure out what was wrong with Hayley, and they decided it was best to call her parents.
Her parents, Brian and Beth, dismissed the pain as just a pulled muscle. But the pain that Hayley felt was so unbearable that she couldn’t even get out of bed. That night, her parents woke up from the screams coming from her bedroom.
They rushed to her room and saw her crying in her bed. “It’s hard to breathe,” she weezed. The next morning, Hayley’s parents took her to the hospital, hoping that it wasn’t anything serious.
The doctors ran some tests on Hayley, and the results showed that she was healthy. There were no signs of damage of any kind or bruising. Hayley couldn’t believe what she was hearing; she wouldn’t leave until the doctors gave her a diagnosis.
“You must have missed something; the pain is unbearable!”Hayley cried. The doctors looked at her tests again and repeated what they had already told her. They believed there was nothing wrong with her.
At the end of the appointment, however, the doctors finally told her something that would leave her at a loss for words.
The doctors told Hayley and her parents that it must be due to stress. That the pain she was feeling was all in her head. Hayley left the doctor’s office in tears. She was crying. The doctors thought she was crazy.
Hayley’s father promised her he would get to the bottom of what was happening to her, but he didn’t know where to start. Then, one day, Brian’s friend recommended him a top doctor, and he took his daughter to see him.
Unfortunately, despite a more thorough analysis, the doctor didn’t find anything on the scans, either. It wasn’t until Hayley’s mother discovered the work of Dr. Lisa McMahon on the internet did the family finally learn what was wrong with her.
“It was just really hard as a parent to watch your kid be in pain and not be able to do anything about it,” Brian recalls.
“But when we took her to the Phoenix Children’s Hospital in Arizona, things started to look hopeful.”
Dr. McMahon comforted Hayley when she arrived at the hospital and said she knew what she was going through. For the first time in months, Hayley felt hopeful. But could this doctor help her?
“Everything will be alright,” the doctor said as she put her hand on Hayley’s shoulder. She then ran all the same tests on her as the previous doctors.
Dr. McMahon, however, looked more confident than the other specialists as she revealed her diagnosis. So, what was the cause of the pain?
It turns out that the 16-year-old was suffering from a rare condition called “slipping rub,” meaning the cartilage coating her lower ribcage wasn’t staying fixed where it should be. This is why she was in constant pain.
Finally, Hayley was given a diagnosis. But how did Dr. McMahon manage to detect it so fast?
Dr. McMahon had suffered from “slipping rib” herself when she was Hayley’s age. She even had the same symptoms as her!
This rare condition is caused by cartilage from the lower ribs slipping, which causes severe pain in the upper abdomen or chest.
“Slipping rib” usually occurs in middle-aged people, but young people can also have it.
Although Hayley was finally given the correct diagnosis, she still had to undergo treatment.
Hayley and her parents were dreading the treatment. They hoped it would be successful.
As his daughter prepared for the first session of physical therapy, Brian knew she had a long recovery ahead of her. But was it even worth it?
Hayley’s parents worried the treatment wouldn’t work. Was it going to hurt even more? Would Hayley be able to swim again?
Fortunately, the treatment had worked, and Hayley can now live without any pain preventing her from enjoying life.
“I am most definitely feeling better,” Hayley said.
“It’s nice to be able to live again without having to worry about your ribs popping.” Can you imagine being in constant pain without knowing what was causing it?