Just this past weekend Skyline pitcher Krystal Palmer rolled through the Tiger-Grizz softball tournament without giving up a run. That alonewould be enough to garner attention, but when you consider what she’s been through recently, she’s a runaway winner for our Summit Orthopaedics Athlete of the Week.
Watching Palmer go through a throwing session, you’d have no idea that as recently as a month ago, there was something strange growing inside her.
“My back started hurting very badly,” says Palmer. “AndI went to the doctor and they found a tumor inside of my stomach.”
“Ilost a mother to cancer,” says Krystal’s mother Kelly. “I was thinking absolutely no way, this is my baby, this is my child, there’s absolutely no way this can happen.”
What was inside her was a 5 pound tumor, something that had been growing inside her from the day she was born. There was a possibilty it was cancerous,and if it burst, it could conceivably be fatal. But Krystal didn’t know that.
“Noone told me anything about cancer,” says Krystal. “Noone even mentioned it, cause they didn’t wanna scare me”
“She had no idea,” says Kelly. “You know,I just said it wasn’t a broken bone. They just wanted to see what else it is.”
Finally, before going into surgery, the results of which could change her life forever, the doctor let on that cancer was a possibility. But fortunately, the growth turned out to be benign, and only a small incision was required for the doctorto drainit.
“When she woke up, the first thing she said is doI have cancer andI said no,” says her mother.
So amazingly,only a handful of days after the biggest scare of her life, Krystal wascleared to go back on the diamond to help her team win.
“I wasn’t expecting her this year to be honest with ya,” says her coach Tony Arehart. “Iwas tickled to know that everything was healthy and that it was benign.”
And in a weird twist of fate, one of the best softball pitchers around has gotten even better as a result of the surgery.
“Pitchers they lean back and they use their back a lot, and before that, i couldn’t do it cause i was in so much pain,” describes Krystal. “Ididn’t really say anything, and so, now that it’s out,I can move my back all the way back andI can get more power from it.”
Using that newfound power, the junior’s already tossed 4 shutouts, including last Friday’s no-hitter versus Snake River, and last Saturday’s win over previously unbeaten Pocatello.
Considering all she’s been through, perhaps the softball Gods have big plans for her and her team to the end the year.
“We wanna go to State.”remarks Krystal. “We have a great team this year, and we’re gonna see what’s gonna happen.”
Knowing her character and toughness, I wouldn’t bet against this week’s Summit Orthopaedics Athlete of the Week doing just that.