September is Sickle Cell Awareness Month. I was going to do a general blog post on sickle cell, but sickle cell hits home, for me. Several members in my family have been diagnosed and I have a nephew who carriers the trait. I decided that I NEEDED to raise awareness and put faces to this disease. This month we will do a series on sickle cell anemia and the people it affects. Some see them as victims or patients, but after hearing their story we see them as conquerors!
We will start with Nick. Here is his story and interview.
"My name is Nicholas Reynolds and I have sickle cell anemia . I was five years of age when the doctors discovered I had it. It was an African doctor who originally diagnosed me with it . My original doctor thought I had tendinitis. Throughout my the school year ,I take many trips to the hospital because of sickle cell anemia. A sickle cell crisis, can cause pain because blood vessels can become blocked or the defective red blood cells can damage organs in the body. Being a child with sickle cell makes you grow up fast because of the constant pain that your going through. It was hard for me to play sports and keep up with everyone else because I would get tired faster than everybody else. Every morning I wake up I'm in pain some days are good and some days are bad but I constantly push myself. I usually find something to get my mind off it to help deal with the pain. Hydration is a major key of preventing your body to go into a crisis. Being health conscious is also good knowing what foods help cater to your body is also good to. I don't allow sickle cell to control my life . I believe in being active and having a strong faith in GOD helps me. There is no cure for sickle cell anemia , doctors basically give you fluids in pain medication to help deal with pain until the crisis is over .
I used to have a crisis every month now its every 6 months I limited my emergency room visits by being aware if things I eat and working out on a regular." - Nick Reynolds
1.)How old were you when you found out you had sickle cell? I was 5 when I found out I had sickle cell anemia.
2.) How were you able to cope with school and sickle cell? Staying ahead of my work meaning not missing any school days unless I had a crisis.
3.) How did sickle cell affect your childhood? It made me grow up fast dealing with pain at such an early age makes you look at life in different ways.
4.) How do you manage sickle cell and still maintain a thriving career? By being health conscious meaning eating right, working out , and staying hydrated.
5.) Has sickle cell limited any areas of your life? I wouldn't allow it .
6.) Do you have regular pain, related to sickle cell? How do you cope? Yes , by basically doing things that get my mind off the pain . I usually don't take pain medication unless it's bad episode. Staying hydrated usually helps prevent pain.
7.) How often are you in a crisis? How does it affect your life and routines? Can you describe a crisis to us? It depends this year it has be less then other years. It was usually every month but now it's like every other month. A crisis is when red blood cells Sickle and block the flow of oxygen through out the body causing severe pain.
8.) How has sickle cell affected your personal life? Relationships are hard because it's a lot to deal with when one person has sickle cell . When I'm in pain I really don't like anyone talking to me I have bad mood swings because of the pain I'm annoyed very quickly. It takes a strong person to deal with that .
9.) What is a typical day like living with sickle cell? It takes more energy to do normal things than an average person. I wake up in pain every morning but I continue to go on throughout the day like a normal person would .
10.) What advice would you give to those with sickle cell or those who want to learn more? My advice is stay strong mentally do things that can keep your mind off the pain. Stay hydrated avoid negative people because stress can also trigger a crisis. Find something that you love doing to keep your mind busy . The most important thing to me is having a strong faith in GOD.