When I was in college, my goal was to work in professional sports in marketing or sales. Before I graduated, I worked in ticket sales for the Phoenix Suns basketball team and loved the path my career was taking.
I had my foot in the door at the NBA and it felt good to be there. One year after I graduated, I was diagnosed with Friedreich’s ataxia (FA). I already had moved back to Los Angeles because I dreamed of taking on the sports world there. But the diagnosis threw a wrench into my plans.
I hate admitting how much of a grasp the diagnosis had on me and my career. I felt like a victim of my circumstance and that I couldn’t handle my new life. I was proud and resentful. Of course, a diagnosis of something like Friedreich’s ataxia is completely life-altering. But I had dropped everything I was working toward in college to focus on how to navigate a new life with a neuromuscular disease. I didn’t realize how much of an impact not working had on me.
If anyone thinks I’m being hard on myself, I am. I’m always like that because as the saying goes, we are our harshest critic.
Three months before my diagnosis, I scored an interview for my dream job with my favorite franchise in the NFL, the Los Angeles Rams. It was the first year the team was in LA after moving from St. Louis. Job interviews had always been easy for me, I felt confident in my abilities to work, and I was excited about the opportunity.