By J1 Reporter Keara Hiatt
“For a 14-year-old girl to hear that you could have cancer later in your life… it was really sad and really scary”.
Sophomore Carmie Bazis participates in both cross country and soccer at Marian, while playing club soccer year round. In the fall of 2017, while the cross country season was coming to an end, her leg started to hurt. She brushed it off as cramping from all of the running and didn’t do anything about it, but then it started to get worse. “After I would run, it would just start spazzing, and like bounce up and down, and just go crazy. That’s when I decided I should probably go see a doctor,” Bazis said.
She was told it was a torn tendon, sent to physical therapy, and told to come back in eight weeks if it was still bothering her. “While I was doing physical therapy the pain completely went away, and I started soccer again, but then it came back and was even worse than before,” Bazis said.
So she went back to the doctor, and this time they took an MRI. The results came back and she found out that it wasn’t a torn tendon; it was actually a small cyst. “As soon as they told me, I just burst out crying. The first thing I asked was ‘could it be cancer?’ They didn’t sugarcoat anything. They told me it was very unlikely, but possible, and I still get really emotional whenever people bring it up,” Bazis said.
Bazis went back to physical therapy and took all of winter off so that she would be able to play soccer for Marian in the spring. During soccer season her pain was gone again, and it stayed that way until midway through summer. “In like the middle of summer I had club soccer tryouts, and my leg pain started to flare up again. The timing was terrible. I was supposed to try out for four clubs, and I only tried out for one. I just couldn’t put my body through it,” Bazis said.
She said it was around that time when she went to a very negative place. “I’m very self-reliant. And so when I couldn’t do anything to help my team, and I couldn’t do anything to help myself, it was kind of just a dark stage in my life where I couldn’t do anything for myself.”
“When you get something as simple as walking taken away from you, it makes everything seem really hard, and I was just tired and emotionally drained all the time,” Bazis said.
Cross country started a few months later, and Bazis’ leg was doing better, for the most part. Although her parents were reluctant, they allowed Carmie to go out for another season. At the end of the previous season, Bazis was in the top group, running a 5k in 22 minutes, and even winning medals in some meets. At the start of this season however, Bazis had moved all the way down to the slowest group, and was running a 5k in 34 minutes.
Her leg injury had caused her to add an entire 11 minutes to her time, even though it was doing better. “Everything was fine, I was just so cautious in the beginning. I was scared to push myself because I didn’t want to make it any worse, but then I started pushing myself more and more, and I realized that I could do it.” By the end of the season, Bazis was running a 5k in 24 minutes, only two minutes slower than before she was injured.
As for her leg now, Bazis says, “My cyst is dormant as of now, and I can’t have it removed until it grows. It’s frustrating that it’s always going to be there, but I kind of just got used to it. I named it Harold.”
Bazis said, “It’s weird, because even though it was a physical injury, it affected me the most emotionally. Cross country and my friends from it helped me get out of that dark stage, and I’m really grateful for that. I know how to deal with it more now, and I know that I don’t need to hold back from anything because of it.”