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My Kid's Growing Pains

Photograph by Getty Images/Flickr RF

My ten-year-old started complaining about her knee about a month ago. Sometimes it was fine, and sometimes she dragged her leg around like it was someone else's, calling it her "bum knee" and ready to swap stories in gold course pro shops. I wrote it off to drama, because: tween.

I didn't actually take it seriously until she told me there was a lump there that hurt when she pushed on it. In typical fashion, she chose a moment while we were eating at a Steak & Shake to inform me she had developed a new growth. I pushed on the lump, and it was hard like a rock, not soft like a muscle knot. I told myself firmly, "IT'S NOT A TUMOR" and drove her to urgent care, anyway.

Amazingly, there were no other patients at urgent care at 7 pm on a week night. As I filled out the paperwork (reason for visit: parental paranoid delusions or possible leg tumor), my girl sprawled on the chairs acting decidedly not like someone who was about diagnosed with childhood sarcoma. I continued to run through nightmare scenarios of leg amputation, anyway, because that is how my brain works.

I told myself firmly, "IT'S NOT A TUMOR" and drove her to urgent care, anyway.

You know how doctors will push on things and mutter to themselves? That happened for a few minutes while my heart rate tripled at each grunt. Finally, the doctor looked up. "I think she's got an Osgood . We'll take an X-ray just to make sure."

I tripped after them to the X-ray room. What the hell is an Osgood? They let me stand behind the wall and watch the X-rays come up on the machine while the technician did the muttering, thing, too, clicking and measuring and enlarging. At first I saw what was surely the tumor, but that turned out my daughter's kneecap. Finally the doctor came back into the room with a smile on her face.

"Yup, it's an Osgood. It'll go away on its own. Here's a note if she needs it for school. Just give her ibuprofen and have her rest if it hurts."

Are you also wondering what the hell an "Osgood" is? I will tell you. A) It is not childhood cancer. B) Osgood-Schlatter Disease is a fancy growing pain that happens when differences in size and strength between the muscle groups place unusual stress on the growth plate at the top of the shin bone. The hard-as-a-rock thing we were feeling was actually her shin bone, I think.

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