Can we know you,?

I will prefer to be anonymous.

How did you get to know you have Sickle Cell Anemia?

Learning about my genotype came as a big blow because,throughout my childhood, I believed I was not until I became verysick when I was 15. My parents sat by me and told me, you are nowa grown-up, you have to learn to take care of yourself. Yourgenotype is SS and not AS. That was how the cat came out of the bag.

Wow!, that must have been a shock to you. How did you feel?

I was sad, scared and angry. I was sad because I thought I would be dying prematurely, that was all I knew about people living with sickle cell anaemia at that time. I was scared that I would not be able to enjoy life to the fullest, and I was angry that my parents did this to me. I felt that they should have known better.

I am so sorry about that. So, how has it been living with Sickle Cell Anemia?

Painful, draining and exhausting, I would say. I am always tired, you know. Even when I am trying to fight my battles, some people arenot being careful with their words when addressing sickle cell anaemia. Being tagged as either someone who might die early or something to be prevented hurts. Having to depend on people during your crisis is also one thing that affected my mental health for a while.

Sometimes reaching out for help when I have a crisis bothers me because I feel like I should have been used to the pain. There are days when you just get sick out of nowhere even when you stick to everything that the doctor asks you to do, it just happens. Trying not to have too much fun while having fun because you don't want to trigger your crisis is also a thing. The anxiety that comes when you start to feel a type of way is nerve-wracking. There are many more like that but I would love to stop here.

Compared to how you felt before, how do you feel now?

To be honest, I still feel sad and scared sometimes but I can boldlysay that I am no longer angry. I have found peace with who I am. I try my best to not let people who don't understand what I am going through get to me with their words, I enjoy life each day and I have fun.

What will you like to say to people living with sickle cell anaemia or any other health condition?

You are a person before your health condition. Appreciate yourself more, enjoy life in either the little or big way you can, receive love and give love, you are loved and you are not a burden.

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