Kaelyn Franco, 23, experienced severe pain and swelling after a spin class.
And while at first she thought she was just sore, it would end up leading her to undergo emergency surgery to cut open her leg to relieve the pressure inside.
“It really did turn my world upside down,” Franco told TODAY about the ordeal. “It was just super traumatic and stressful.”
Franco recounted the events on her Instagram page.
“On September 15th, I took a spin class. Being someone who played sports all my life, I found it very strange that my legs immediately buckled when I got off the bike. I felt like I couldn’t move. My cousins were laughing at me but I knew something was wrong…”
“Fast forward to the night of the 16th, I am crying in pain. I went to the hospital that night. I was hospitalized for Rhabdomyolysis, and I will be sharing more information about this horrifying illness. At my highest my CK levels were 259,000 (the normal range is between 33-211 U/L). Doctors said they hadn’t seen such levels before. I couldn’t walk or move and had to be put on a catheter.”
“I was getting nervous seeing my loved ones so worried. I had to get emergency surgery to save my leg and my life. My rhabdomyolysis turned into acute compartment syndrome and the doctors had to go in and remove the muscle that was breaking down into my blood stream. Seeing my loved ones cry when my surgeon said that this surgery had just saved my life was something I’ll never forget.”
“Although my leg will never be the same and I’ll have lifelong complications from this, I am lucky and I am so grateful. I am alive and my leg was saved. Post this experience, I am still at home on crutches unable to walk on my own. I am ready and hopeful for the day I can move again.”
In addition, the former athlete says she isn’t writing off sports just yet.
“I don’t want this to take away from my passion of being fit and active, but I want take it as a lesson and change some things going forward,” she said. “I definitely I want to be kinder to my body.”
Franco also plans to document her healing journey.
“I will be documenting my whole journey with this experience to shed light on what I have been through to help others. I will also then go into my previous life threatening condition to show that no matter what you go through, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Welcome to my recovery journey✨”
With a background in the creative and educational fields, Amelia Finefrock is freelance writer, singer-songwriter and nanny based in Chicago.
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