Madison Herring's road to recovery has been nearly a year in the making. Midway through 2016 it was discovered that she had Paget-Schroetter Syndrome, a condition that halted her freshman campaign with over a month left in the season.
Shortly after an exam on a broken pinky, Herring noticed her arm swelling during practice throughout the week. She kept feeling sick and had a fever. Despite medicine and rest, her symptoms did not retreat.
Thinking she had a swollen lymph node, Herring went to the emergency room in Kinston. The doctors originally thought she had lymphoma, but soon realized she had blood clots in her arm, which came more as a relief to Herring.
Paget-Schroetter Sydrome can be described as a spontaneous blood clot or a deep vein thrombosis in the neck and armpit region.
"They actually thought it was lymphoma and I started to panic, but they told me it was blood clots," said Herring. "I actually got calmer, but my mom was freaking out, but I knew we could figure this out."
She was then transferred to the hospital in Greenville, N.C. for a more in-depth evaluation, where she it was determined she would need surgery to further evaluate her symptoms.
"I was freaking out, but my dad and fiancé were calm, but my mom and aunt were all up in the air," stated Herring. "When I got to the surgeon and the specialist who knew what was really going on, that's when I calmed down."
After having a catheter put in her arm, Herring also went through a procedure to put a pair of chest tubes in her.
"The first tube was a camera to take x-ray to see how the hematoma was progressing as well as pumping medicine into it," said athletic trainer Emily Baker. "When that wasn't working, they put another chest tube in to pull air and blood out of her lung."
Following her diagnosis, Herring was given two options on how to proceed, remove a rib to alleviate pressure on her arm and help blood flow or take blood thinners for the rest of her life and not play softball again. Herring knew the decision was easy.
"I told the doctors 'You can take the rib out right now', my decision was made," Herring said when given the two options for recovery. "My parents and fiancé wanted to talk about it, but I told them that there is nothing to talk about or to think about. It was a really quick and easy decision, I couldn't just quit like that without taking a chance. I've played too much ball and given up too much, taken off too much, and lost too many things to give up like that."
Following her procedures and treatment, Herring has returned to action in the Orange and Black. She will not be fully healed, as some days are better than others, knowing she can't do as much and other days when she can feel as close to normal.
"As we started getting later in the season, I can start to tell that my body is getting tired," said Herring. "It's a whole different level of tired. There are some days when I tell myself 'You don't need to move your arm, you can't sleep on your arm, just take some ice and lay down.' I have reached the level with myself where I can tell myself to stop what I'm doing and relax."
Having played in 49 of Campbell's 54 games in 2017, Herring has been a vital asset to the team this season and she knows she cannot take that for granted.
"It's a blessing, I shouldn't be out here right now," said Herring. "I am defying all odds."