IMAGE FROM: BELLA NAIJA
Reading about the passing of Tosyn Bucknor last week was not only sad but yet another unfortunate reality about the consequences of being born with sickle cell disease.
Reports about what the actual cause of death was were not super specific, all that was reported was that her husband had come home from work monday evening and found her dead. What a traumatic scene it must have been for him and one can't help but wonder what those last moments must have been like for her as she lay there knowing she was taking what were her last breaths. May her soul contiue to rest in peace.
For those who do not know, Tosyn was a popular radio personality in Nigeria who was widely loved by her family, friends and colleagues. People who had ever met her only describe her as a bubbly,lively person who was always laughing and living her life to the fullest. She was also reported to have been born with sickle cell but no details were provided about what type of the disease she had. This, like many other cases we hear about makes me anxious about my own sister and worry if when it's all said and done, this disease will eventually take her away from us like it did my brother and Tosyn. I refuse to think about sickle cell being an inevitable death sentence for those who have it but it has left me asking one important question - Can one just suddenly pass away from having sickle cell disease without warning or can a pre-existing condition possibly trigger a fatal crisis? Research tells me that death can be sudden and unexpected in SCA with a large number of these deaths being the result of an acute episode of pain, chest syndrome or stroke. Other causes of sickle cell related death include organ failure, infection, cerebral hemorrhage and pulmonary hypertension. However, the direct cause of death is frequently undefined and despite improved medical care over the years, adults with SCD continue to experience a high rate of premature mortality with a significant number of patients dying suddenly.
As you can imagine, this is not the kind of news I would like to read about because it makes me worry for my sister's future. The median age of mortality for SC patients is somewhere between 36-44 years old (my brother had just turned 33 before he died and my sister is 25 now). Identifying the variables contributing to sudden death in SCD in patients may enable clinicians to successfully intervene and prevent early demise.
Let us continue to keep everyone we know and others still living with sickle cell in our prayers and hope that something is done before it claims the lives of even more young adults.
Again, my condolences to Tosyn's husband and family...