Something I have found in being a professional golfer is that everyone always asks "what's next?". There are so many wonderful things about being a professional athlete and people are genuinely interested to know what is going on in my life and what I have planned for the future. So many people support my career and they want to see me succeed. There is nothing but good intent behind this question when they ask me. However; sometimes it is a tough one for me to answer. I am someone who holds everything inside and doesn't like to talk about my struggles or emotion. I have a hard time asking for help or guidance because I am so overwhelmed. So, sometimes answering this question is a tough task.
I'm writing this blog in attempt to explain a little bit of what I have gone through over the past year and I how am hoping to move forward. In 2016 I had my full LPGA card. I had a very tough year but overall, I knew it would be a great learning experience for me and something I could use to help me grow. I struggled with minor injuries through the year. I had a couple of ribs come out of place and was getting treatment as maintenance. Towards the end of the season I felt a pain in my shoulder that would come and go. I ended up outside of the top 125 on the money list so I would have to go back to Q-school in December which extended my season an extra 2 months. I was working hard on my swing and probably practicing more than my body could handle. I was fighting vertigo and severe dizziness and fatigue while preparing for Q-school. I competed in Q-school with shoulder pain and not much stamina and ended up missing the cut to get my status back.
After Q-school in December 2016 I took 6 weeks off hoping the pain would go away with rest. This was unfortunately not the case. I went through physical therapy Jan- March 2017 and the pain was a lot better. I competed in most events on the Symetra Tour schedule in 2017 before having to end my season due to more shoulder and neck pain. I came home and have not played a ton in hopes of giving my body some rest. From October until now I have been to about a dozen doctors appointments and a few forms of physical therapy with not much improvement.
The only thing the doctors know for sure is that my long thoracic nerve is inflamed and we have to wait for it to heal and begin functioning properly. I have had an MRI of my cervical spine and it looks good from a still picture but is not moving as it should. I am hoping over time I will be able to regain my mobility and be able to return to doing what I love. It has been so long since I have played pain free and I know that as soon as my body heals I can begin putting all of this behind me. The whole process has been a huge mental struggle for me and one that I am looking forward to overcoming.
So, when you ask "whats next?" I don't have a clear answer but what I do know is that I am doing the best I can, everyday. My priority for the upcoming year is to get healthy. Once I get my body healthy, I will be committed to getting my game back into winning form. I don't know when my first event will be in 2018 or what the year will hold but I am doing all that I can to make it a successful year, whatever that may mean!
There is a lot more to being a professional athlete than just the physical ability. It requires mental strength, discipline, support from others and a whole lot of determination. I am trying to stay true to myself and to learn how to handle the different challenges I face daily. Life is not easy but I hope by explaining my journey, maybe I can help others along the way.
"Remember your dreams and fight for them. You must know what you want from life. There is just one thing that makes your dream become impossible: the fear of failure."