Sonja Jeyaseelan had sugery (removal of cysts)
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Here is the article:
Jeyaseelan comeback stalled
By BEVERLEY SMITH
From Saturday's Globe and Mail
At first, Canadian tennis star Sonya Jeyaseelan thought things couldn't get worse.
After a brilliant sprint into the top 50 in the world rankings a year ago, Jeyaseelan's ranking plunged. Chronic patellar tendinitis in a knee was becoming too painful to bear. She felt bad. She had to take a break.
Then things got worse. A lot worse.
On Dec. 4, she woke up with a severe pain on the left side of her face. Her left eye was bulging out. It hurt to blink.
She didn't think it was a big deal, perhaps just a sinus infection — she'd had those before — and went for a workout. But by the end of the day, she was in the emergency ward at Sunnybrook and Women's College Health Sciences Centre in Toronto. The next day, she had brain surgery to remove a cyst the size of a walnut. Doctors gave her no choice. They didn't know whether the growth was cancerous.
While the doctors were up her nose, they found another cyst behind her right eye. They removed that, too. Fortunately, the growths were not cancerous.
Things occurred so quickly that Jeyaseelan hadn't had any time to think about all of the shocking things that were happening to her — a physically fit, apparently well, 25-year-old athlete. In a way, it was a blessing. "I didn't have a chance to freak out," she said.
"I did cry, because I was supposed to go to a wedding in Sweden [of tennis player Asa Carlsson]. I was supposed to have been on a plane to Sweden that night."
Had Jeyaseelan flown that night, the cyst might have ruptured, perhaps damaging her eyesight, she was told.
Doctors caught the problem. "Everything happens for a reason, and I feel that the timing couldn't have been any better," she said.
But then, things got worse.
A week later, Jeyaseelan woke up at 4 a.m. in her home, hemorrhaging from her nose and mouth. "I was bleeding so much that I was clotting," she said. "And the clots were so thick, I was choking on them."
Jeyaseelan lives only two minutes from Sunnybrook. She got into a cab and headed to the emergency ward, still with tubes from the previous surgery up her nose.
But because of the tubes, Jeyaseelan had to wait until 9:30 a.m., until the surgeon who did the first procedure arrived at the hospital. "It was a bit of a nightmare, because I almost needed a blood transfusion," she said. "I was losing a lot of blood."
Jeyaseelan then had to undergo a painful packing procedure, requiring the doctor to stick a rubber tube up her nose and trachea, all while she was conscious. For five or 10 seconds, she gagged for air.
"At that point, I was very scared," she said. "I was crying. The nurses were very supportive. The doctor worked as fast as he could. It was not easy."
If the procedure hadn't stopped the bleeding, Jeyaseelan would have had to go back into surgery.
Jeyaseelan spent four more days in the hospital, three of them on intravenous fluids, because she could not eat. She shed 10 to 12 pounds off her 124-pound body. And she lost strength. She was on painkillers. She slept 14 hours a day.
Now that the dust has settled, Jeyaseelan feels that the calamity has changed her way of thinking about life. Her knee problem doesn't seem like such a catastrophe. Neither does her tennis world ranking.
"Know what?" she told herself. "If I never hit another tennis ball again, I don't care. Just get me healthy and able to breathe and walk. I had four days to think about everything.
"There were so many nice things to think about. I saw my glass as being half full, not half empty. I could have said, why is this happening to me? How many more things could happen?"
Jeyaseelan knows she's not a healthy person any more. There is a 10-per-cent to 15-per-cent chance that the cysts could develop again. And the surgery was delicate the first time; doctors had to dance carefully around her optic nerves.
"I have to watch out for my health while I do a sport that is strenuous on the body," she said. "But I thought if I never get the opportunity to go back out and travel, I've done enough things that I could hang my racquets up."
However, Jeyaseelan isn't thinking about quitting. Yesterday she worked out for the first time in 3½ weeks and was pleasantly surprised to find she wasn't as out of breath as she expected.
Still, a comeback will take time. Air travel could put further stress on her sinus problems. She's looking at a late April or early May return to the tour, but is not setting a firm date.
She sees spending another five years in the sport. "I'm going to give it one more shot and come back one more time, because my ranking did plummet," she said. Her singles ranking is protected at around 200, her doubles at around 60. She hasn't played since the U.S. Open in September.
Jeyaseelan was released from hospital a week before Christmas. On Christmas Eve, she finally had the onerous tubes removed. On Christmas Day, she had enough energy to eat dinner and open gifts, but then fell asleep on the couch. She was happy to be home.
The complications are behind her. And she's learned much. "It's a great wakeup call," she said.
"I have such a laid-back personality now. I'm not the selfish, competitive person at the moment. I'm putting things in perspective. When you see the young girls on the tour, they don't put anything in perspective. They have no clue. All they know is how to play tennis. They don't realize they should enjoy the things that they've done."