Dreams of Being MJ

Who doesn't dream of making the winning shot with 3 seconds left in the fourth quarter?

I have always been athletic and interested in all sports; but I ate, slept and breathed basketball. I played all day, every day. I wanted to be the female version of Michael Jordan when I would go pro. 

When I tried out for my high school basketball team, I felt a step closer to my dream. As the season progressed and I practiced with my team, I noticed my left foot was getting swollen. I figured I twisted my ankle and the swelling would go down eventually. I always played on my injuries, so why act differently with my swollen foot. 

Shortly, the swelling traveled to my knee and there was no explanation to the progress of my swelling. I wasn't in pain, there was just a lot of stiffness and I couldn't walk normally. I finally gave in and asked my dad to take me to the doctors to check out my injury. 

X-rays, MRI's and blood work were taken and for months and months, there was no clear diagnoses of what I had. Fractures, Lyme disease and Lupus were the main diagnoses, but the doctors were never 100% sure. 

After a year and missing the whole basketball season, I finally was sent to a children's hospital-I had a better chance of getting a true diagnoses with specialist. Only after two visits and multiple blood work, I was kinda diagnosed with Juvenile Arthritis. So, they prescribed me Naproxen and physical therapy for three months. 

I think my father and I were puzzled because none of the doctors took the diagnoses seriously. I took the Naproxen when I was told and went to physical therapy once a week. There never seemed to be anything alarming about my Juvenile Arthritis from the doctors, so I never took this seriously. 

Shortly after my physical therapy was over, the swelling in my foot and knee went away and I was back to feeling like the regular me. I was back on the court, working out and being the normal me. 

Now that I know what I have, I can safely say that my juvenile rheumatoid arthritis went into remission at age 16; 10 years later, it returned as Rheumatoid Arthritis and it was stronger than ever; which is common in rheumatoid arthritis patients. 

I never did go pro in basketball...but even after not being part of a team for one year because of my RA, that didn't stop me from dreaming. And after my arthritis went into remission, I got back on the court and I didn't give up on being active. 

I don't think any body should give up on a dream (no matter how ridiculous) or give up an active lifestyle if you have a disease. I wish to give you all hope and aspirations to continue dreaming and continue being active. 

Know that you are STRONGER THAN RA!!!

Aimee Espinoza