A Tough Break from a Tear


Elizabeth Beagle

Heaston listens intently in French as she reviews vocabulary for the final.

Elizabeth Beagle, Editor

About three months ago, Katie Heaston, 10, underwent surgery on her left hip due to a tear in her labrum. After three years of previous pain, Heaston was ready to have the surgery and end the pain, but she didn’t anticipate the physical and emotional stress that would follow months after the surgery.

“I can’t stand for long periods of time because the body takes eight to twelve months to fully accept the artificial hip with metal bands. My physical therapy is coming along, but there is also pain there. There has definitely been an emotional struggle with everything. My grades spiraled and I am just now getting them back,” Heaston explained.

Before the surgery, Heaston danced competitively, practicing three to five hours each evening and four to seven hours on Saturdays. She had aspirations to dance with Ballet Magnifica after college and carry out dance throughout high school and college career. For Heaston to hear the news of the recovery time and possible damages, it was as if the world was crumbling to pieces.

“Hearing the news was an emotional breakdown. It was such a shock that it would take so long, but I know that if I didn’t have my labrum repaired, I would have to deal with it for the rest of my life. I know that I’ll never go back to where I was because my hip is artificial with metal bands, ” Heaston said.

With a long road ahead, friends and family came together to support and encourage Heaston. Some sent flowers and stuffed animals, others sent ice cream and chocolate and many others worked hard to help Heaston return to normal life.

“I would not have been able to get through this without all of the support form my friends and family,” said Heaston.

Despite the struggles, Heaston has found that with the extra hours she is able to spend more time with family and friends. Because of the time demand from dance, Heaston had a difficult time maintaining a constant social life while balancing daily homework and dance.

“While I was dancing, it was next to impossible for me to do anything. I couldn’t go to games or do after school events. I couldn’t do clubs, and while I love dance, that was really hard,” said Heaston.

With a temporary break from dance, there is more time for homework and trying out new clubs such as Art Club. Heaston has found that spending time doing other activities and just being with people who care about her helps take her mind of the physical and emotional strain of recovery.

“I mainly focus on my studies and try to build relationships that I haven’t been able to build in the past. I also have been spending a lot of time with my family; that is something that I have really been missing,” said Heaston.

Being away from dance has also revealed a new side to a social life that is new and different for Heaston. Though support came from many, there is still some room for skeptics to judge.

“With my dance friends, it has definitely been a test. I have heard things people have said, and at first they thought I was faking it for attention, but it has been a lot better than most people would expect” said Heaston.

For Heaston, most of her friends are at the dance studio, so making friends and fitting in is sometimes difficult. Heaston admitted: “Fitting in can sometimes be hard because I know that I am different from other people at school; I am sensitive to bad language and really I am conservative. You see people who they are on the outside, but you have to get to know them to really understand who they are.”

With high hopes of returning to dance and coming back as a stronger dancer, Heaston is doing her best to continue participation in ballet. She was given a role as the girl in the wheelchair for this year’s Nutcracker ballet, and though she may not be dancing, Heaston is still welcomed on the ballet stage and is looking forward towards the upcoming performances in the next few weeks.
“Many people who have had this surgery have told me that I may come back as a stronger dancer,” said Heaston. “Taking a step back from dance I have seen how much I loved dance and how big of a part it is of me, and I believe this whole experience has been bitter-sweet. I’m getting there and I am really close now.”