So back in November when I was still in Santo Andre with Sister Loisotto I started having some knee pains on and off. I didn't really think much of it because we walk a TON and I thought they were just normal pains. Also, the area is really hilly so of course I thought this contributed to the normalcy of knee pains. I was transferred on New Year's eve to a new area with a new companion and since we weren't living in our area and had to walk 45 minutes just to get to our area. The knee pain continued and just kept getting worse. One day I just could barely walk and called Sister Tanner to tell her what had been going on. She told me first to do some strengthening exercises and sent me those. I did them for a few days but the pain was almost unbearable. It was like a constant shooting pain that ran down the inner part of my leg. The front of my knees killed too. So I called again and she said it would be okay to mark a doctor's appointment. So on Thursday, Feb 6th I headed to the doctor and he asked me to get an X-Ray done there. Did that, turns out my patellas aren't in the right spot. He said I'd need to stay off my knees at least for 3 days, ice them, and not go up or down hills or especially stairs. He told me when I sit I'd have to sit with my knees straight because bending them will increase the pain. I instantly got worried and thought about if I'd get better on the mission quickly enough to keep working. He asked me to get an MRI done that Monday and then to come back and show the knee specialist the results.
So I rested Friday and kind of rested on Saturday and Sunday. We still had people to visit and I couldn't just stay inside! We didn't walk much that weekend but I knew I wasn't getting better by being on my feet.
Monday the 10th I did the MRI and got the results that Thursday the 13th. We took them to 3 different doctors which all said the same thing: That I have what's called Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome which is basically a misalignment of my knee cap to thigh bone causing pain to the muscles surrounding them. Here's a website that explains it clearly and simply for us non-doctors--(http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/patellofemoral-pain-syndrome-topic-overview) I was apparently born this way but even with all my high school sports I never felt any pain. This syndrome is usually activated by overuse of the knees aaand yeah, I'd say I walked enough to say that. I would need to stop walking so much to be able to recuperate. They said it would take about 6 months of Physical Therapy to feel better. I was practically put to bed rest for a month.
I left the offices (all of them) crying and thinking there was a good chance I'd get sent home. So last Saturday the 15th I asked President and Sister to come over so I could explain everything and with lots of love they explained that it would be better to recuperate at home. I was devastated as I never actually thought I'd hear those words. Other people, yes, but not me! I just couldn't believe it. I said bye to as many members as possible at our ward activity/BBQ that afternoon and then the next day at church. I was still in shock. Also I didn't want to believe it. On Monday my wonderful companion packed my suitcases as I was still in denial and I was on a plane that night still thinking "What is happening?"
|Last picture in the mission office with President and Sister Tanner (was definitely already crying here)|
Fast forward, I got to Philly, had a semi-emotional reunion with (part of) my family (the roads were icy which prohibited some from making it!!) in the airport and then was released that night by the Stake President. Now here I am. All of sudden everyone switched from calling me Sister Cox to Alyssa...who da heck is that?! I am NOT used to it yet. Every day gets a little easier as I'm still trying to figure out why this happened but this scripture in Isaiah has given me lots of comfort, "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts then your thoughts." (Isa 55:8-9) We won't always know why things happen the way they do we just have to have faith. I also realized that had I known I had this problem before my mission I wouldn't have been sent out of the country and met all of the wonderful people in Brazil who truly changed my life.
I loved being a missionary. I love this gospel. This is the true Church of Jesus Christ restored on the earth. I know that my Father in Heaven loves me and that's why he gives us all challenges! So that we can grow and make it back to Him. Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and translated the Book of Mormon which is the word of God. As we follow all the small and simple principles of this gospel, we will be blessed and that is one of the greatest promises of all.
To answer some questions that the world is asking me...As of now I'm not planning on going back out to finish my mission. I feel that I have already finished and the Lord has accepted my service. I plan on recuperating at home and then heading back to BYU-Idaho in September for fall semester.
Thank you all for your love and support during this wonderful spiritual journey. The work never stops. Every member a missionary :)