Off The Court, Petra Januskova
We love sharing stories about our inPhorm sponsored tennis professionals and appreciate the interest you all have shown in them as well. For this reason, it is a great pleasure to share this particular story with you.
It is the brave story written and shared with us by tennis pro, Petra Januskova.
It is no secret how much we admire the dedication, commitment, and hard work of professional athletes, especially that of the female tennis professional. Hers is a lonely life that most often requires, at a young age, a lot of alone time with much of this time spent on the road away from family.
The family of the tennis player is often that of a host family and the camaraderie of other pros. But given that at any tournament the fellow pro could end up being your opponent, how close can you really afford to get?
And this just touches on the challenges of a young healthy player. Fighting back from injury or illness is a constant battle for most athletes but the story shared with us by Petra Janusko shares an even greater battle. Petra faced life-threatening illnesses last year and her fight for her life and battle to get back on the tour is a story of true courage and inspiration.
We know after you read Petra’s story you will join us at inPhorm in wishing her continuous success in her comeback.
Last October, I suffered a career- threatening injury which had snuck up on me out of nowhere. In the midst of a tournament, during my quarterfinal match, I started to feel my body breaking down. Pain shooting from one joint to another, inflammation throughout my body. During the night I could barely walk, and my fever was skyrocketing. I went to the hospital three times in a period of two weeks. They couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me. They had sent me to the “infection department hospital” because my body was locked. By this point, I couldn’t move or do anything, except just lay there. The pain was excruciating.
After a week of being hospitalized, not hearing, waiting, they finally diagnosed me. Turns out, Rheumatic Fever and Post-streptococcal Reactive Arthritis took over my body. Knowing the diagnosis was a relief by itself because at least I now knew what was wrong with me. The hospital put me on several types of antibiotics and kept me there for days to monitor my progress and coping with the meds before getting released.
They told me that the recovery process could take months to years for my ASO (a blood test to measure antibodies against streptolysin O) to go back down to normal levels and before I would feel 100% again. It was obvious to me that it would be tough to recover from this bump in my path. I knew it would require a great deal of courage and determination, but I wanted it more than anything. To return, feeling healthy, and getting back on the court again! But I didn’t know, could I every play again?
Another battle I faced during my recovery was Shingles! January came around, I was getting hopeful that I could slowly get back into it. But then I was told I needed to sit out for longer (a disease caused by the varicella-zoster virus) Shingles was painful and VERY mentally draining.
Going through such a thing has been a challenge. To lay in bed, frozen, not being able to do anything was tough. Even when I was my healthy self, I struggled with R&R time (resting and relaxing). Not being able to do anything with my body made my head spin, and I got pretty depressed. Let’s just say, it’s been a battle, both mentally and physically.
Currently, I feel better, but my body is nowhere near 100%. I do check-up blood work every month. The biggest challenge right now is knowing where I was compared to where I’m at now. Even though it’s easy to think about “what could have been” or “what should have been”, I stay positive. But I had a point where I was really down on myself and spending too much time thinking the coulda, woulda, shoulda’s. Now I’m patient and living in the moment. Focusing on my health, making baby steps and setting realistic goals. I’m being patient and taking an active role in my healing process; listening to my body and more. In the end, moving forward is all that matters.
Even though I went through all of this, there have also been some positives. I’ve always been a grateful person, for this life and everything in mine. But all of this has made me realize how fragile and precious every day is.
We have to live every day like it’s our last! Seriously. I have heard this many times in my life, but this time it really hit deep. Live in the moment. Love this moment. Live your life to the fullest! Get out there and give it your very best shot, every single day!
Continue to follow Petra’s journey using the links below: