THE HEARTBREAK OF SICKLE CELL DISEASE
Sickle Cell Disease is the most prevalent genetic disorder in the World Health Organization's African region and Nigeria alone accounts for more than 100,000 new births every year. It is the country with the highest burden of the disease in the world.
Sadly, my own family is a part of this statistic as I lost my only brother two years ago to complications from this disease. It has been a daily battle to come to terms with his death because we were so close being the sibling born right after me. There is a lot of information available out there about Sickle Cell and how specialists in the field are working feverishly to find a cure that is not so expensive and out of reach for the average Nigerian dealing with it.
I have a younger sister who is still living with the disease today and it breaks my heart to see all the pain she has to endure and bags of medication she has to swallow on a daily basis. As a sibling of a sickle cell warrior, a sickle cell victim, and a carrier of the disease myself, I can say that my suffering, though nowhere near what people like my sister have to go through, has been traumatic. I have had to let go of beautiful relationships with men who were also carriers of the disease and witness the opposition from family members both mine and theirs because of it. I know I am not alone in this because today, so many people are torn between choosing to stay with a partner that has this disease or a carrier and facing an uncertain future and walking away from love in the hopes of finding someone who does not carry or suffer from it. It has now become a situation where you not only see whether a potential mate has similar interests and goals but also whether they are "sicklers" or sickle cell carriers. I know I personally had to go through this and needless to say it has been a frustrating experience.
I mentioned in my intro that this blog would highlight all of my many passions but this topic is going to be my primary focus because I am just as passionate about it. There are so many sides to sickle cell and I want to be able to address them all here. Have you had any personal experiences you would like to share? Are you a sibling of sickle cell? How have you and your family been coping? I would love to hear.
Thank you for visiting and thank you for sharing. We are all in this together.