On steroids: From almost signing for MLB to open heart surgery

Joel David Ortiz Mejia he was counting the hours and minutes to go to his dream date: signing with a Major League Baseball team. He already had two days left to appear before those who had taken him into account to make him another Dominican in Major League Baseball (MLB), when some dizziness began to show signs that something was not right.

Taking him to the doctor was the right thing to do. His mother, Yesenia Mejía, did so. Every day it was worse. He could not go to his appointment with success, because life had another one in store for him, but this time, in a medical center.

He fell into bed and the diagnosis was devastating. A document provided by the family to LISTÍN DIARIO and which was prepared by the doctors who initially treated him, reveals that: “The patient was medicated without the consent of his parents. As a result of this medication, he presents a deterioration in renal function that when it worsens there is no time to perform a renal biopsy, due to having small kidneys and enters a chronic HD program ”.

This quote is corroborated by his mother when she says that, as a result of this, her son, then 16 years old, begins the dialysis process at the Doctor Franklin Peña Family Medicine Clinic in the Chronic Hemodialysis program. He went three times a week from May 17, 2021 to the present. Prior to that, on April 11 of the same year, Joel David had been placed a temporary catheter in the left femoral to, through it, give him dialysis. Prior to this, he had nausea, vomiting, dyspnea, high blood pressure, and chest pain. Every day was another test for him and his family. Tears, anguish, hopelessness and impotence were their faithful “companions”.

He was a pitcher, he threw 93 miles. He was a phenomenon at his age, only 16 years old. He was among the young people to sign on July 2, 2020. He was made an offer of $700,000 and one of the coaches said it was worth more and look where the value came from. This is sad. It is not for less. Since then, his son has not come out of one: he has been in Intensive Care three times, including, on one occasion, with a coma induced by Covid-19. “He had no hope of life, but God has a purpose with him.” Yesenia has faith.

ready for transplant

Time passed and the situation of the young man, who is already 19 years old, worsened. To survive, it was necessary to undergo a kidney transplant. “When the moment almost arrives, they discover that my son has a lung problem and that he must be operated on. I don’t even want to remember that.” Relive the moment. Fortunately, surgery was not required. But far from celebrating this good news, Yesenia plunges back into a sea of ​​tears when she learns that her son had caught a bacterium that damaged his mitral valve. Now he needs open heart surgery that is scheduled for next May 18.

“To parents who have children in this sport, stay tuned”

The experience that Joel David’s family has lived through, who has been suffering firsthand from the effects of excessive use of steroids for more than two years, they do not wish on anyone. With everything and his mother Yesenia Mejía being watchful of his son when he was in training, he became a victim of the greed of those who told him that he was injecting him with B complex, when in reality they were steroids. By then he was 16 years old.

“I would guide him and tell Joel to be careful, not to let anything put on him, and he, very innocently, would tell me: ‘No, mommy, it’s a B complex that he gives me. He had deceived him, and he never asked me for permission, despite the fact that I always made it clear to him that my son was a minor, and look how far this went. It hurts him for everything that the young man who is 19 years old today has had to go through, but he does not rest in his desire to see him well.

Yesenia does not rest in her search for help to save Joel’s life. This prompted the question of whether the coach who caused this health situation has taken care of at least some of the expenses. “Not at all. He has never even asked how his health is. He has never sought us out to show his face, imagine, he is no longer going to benefit from my son.” She says so, disappointed.

Of course, when asked the name of the person, he bravely said: “I’m not afraid of him, but I prefer to keep quiet. I just want to focus on the health of my son, really he is the only thing that matters to me ”. She is devoted body and soul to his care.

They want to take it to Spain

After heart surgery, scheduled for May 18, Joel will undergo a kidney transplant. The kidney procedure for this young man who dreamed of being a baseball player will depend on his recovery after having his mitral valve replaced.

His father, who lives in Spain, wants to see how he manages to take him to that European country so that he can receive his transplant there. “All the steps are being taken, but if it is necessary to do it here, it would be to look for a donor for the kidney, and if it is necessary to ask to save my son, I will do it myself.” Yesenia says this because even though they have spent what they don’t have, she makes it clear that she tells the story of her son to guide the matter, not to ask.

“What I earn is a minimum salary, and I know that every time we have hospitalized him there have been many expenses, but we have pushed forward, and we will continue to do so so that Joel can recover, with the grace of God.” He doesn’t lament economically, he only cares about the health of his beloved son.

He forgot his own pain

The Stations of the Cross have been for the entire family. Her mother remembers that when she went through all this, she had just had surgery and it was a sister of hers who was with the then-teenager. They were withholding information. “They did not want to admit him to any center, they said that they did not have intensive care available, but it was understandable, he was in very bad shape.” Just thinking about it makes her sad.

When she finds out that her son was in such a bad way, the mother forgets her own pain to dedicate herself to finding a way to get him admitted to a center. Finally, they succeed, they had to leave a deposit of money that they did not have.

A doctor took responsibility and they were able to admit him. He came out better, but everyone was aware that he was not doing well. They were not wrong. Today, more than two years after the “simple” dizziness he felt, Joel continues his fight to survive the effects of the excessive use of steroids.