July 2019: That was when all of my pain began to gather together. I couldn’t escape it, but I could ignore it. So I did. For months I pretended as if everything was normal. I had gone to so many doctors’ appointments and I was tired of it.
October 2019: My last straw. I was in off season training for softball. I was constantly active, and I would work out for hours each day. Alternating between weight-lifting, cardio, and skills training, my pain became unbearable. I held back tears every day during practice. I had to fight to continue smiling, to continue laughing. Eventually, the pain became so bad that I cried to my parents for days, begging to go back to the doctor. “You’re just being a drama queen” they’d respond. It wasn’t until I collapsed in a Walmart parking lot, then down the stairs later that same day when my mother finally started to see what was in front of her. I was falling apart, and she was standing by, allowing it to happen. My mother, reluctantly of course, called the doctor’s office yet again. They asked if it was urgent, she replied with a quick no. “Just a regular check-up.”
2 weeks later, I walked into that office. To this day I have no idea how I managed to walk, but I remember death gripping onto anything in sight. I walked in, and whenever my doctor asked my mother to step outside, I let it all out. I told her about everything. All of the pain, my multiple falls, everything. By the end, my mascara was everywhere but on my eyelashes. She listened to me, and I was shocked. That had never happened before. My parents, friends, teachers, coaches, they all brushed me off. Yet she, a complete stranger, sat there and listened attentively. Now if you say, “well that’s what doctors are paid to do.” Then let me tell you, you’re extremely lucky. Numerous doctors have refused to give me medical care, or even to listen to me. Before I had the chance to even tell them about my symptoms, they had already diagnosed me with growing pains or PMS. Take my word for it and believe me when I tell you that it’s absolutely heartbreaking. So when this doctor listened to me, I couldn’t help but sob on her table. She told me that she was very sure that I had Rheumatoid arthritis, but since she wasn’t a rheumatologist, she couldn’t diagnose me. My mother barged in, demanding to know what was taking so long. My doctor began to explain that all of my symptoms matched with rheumatoid arthritis. She sat there in complete disbelief, just looking back and forth between the doctor and I. “I thought they were growing pains. I thought she was lying” she repeated. At that moment, I felt as if I had been given wings. Not to fly away, but to fly closer to the end. I thought that I was an arms length away from a diagnosis. But oh… how I was wrong.