I Will Not Let Sickle Cell Control Me

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

My name is Michael Christian and I have sickle cell anemia. I am 21 years old and I was diagnosed with the illness when I was born on June 28, 1998. Sickle Cell anemia is a battle and it took me a while to figure out what this disease can do to me. I had dreams to become something and others had doubts that I am capable to do anything because I have this disease. Every since a little child, I been told that I could not do this or could not achieve that, that my disease would hold me back and I cannot lie that it did not hold me back. When my flare up comes unexpectedly I start to agree that yeah I cannot do anything. Those times when I get sick and admitted into the hospital I feel like my life was going downhill, and that I will never be anything that I set out to be. It was going to keep me from everything and as a child, you give up easier and you care less about things. Sickle cell can put you into a depression that is unimaginable, and it will make you want to give up on everything
When I was about six years old I remember my doctor telling me that I would not be able to walk again. I was admitted for about 2 months in the children hospital, I was in a wheelchair and I could not even walk because the pain was so unbearable. When you are a child you will believe everything someone says especially when it comes to your health. Then you start to wonder will I ever be normal and can I be happy like the other kids? As life went on I didn’t know what to expect because I was so terrified of my disease. I was afraid of the pain and I didn’t want to do anything because I was so worried about what’s about to happen. I got sick so much that I wasn’t hardly ever in school. I was like 9 years old in the second grade because I failed kindergarten due to my illness. Being sick was something I feared for a long time even now but as a child, it was way worse. At that age I didn’t know how to control my pain so it took the best of me because I couldn’t handle it and it really to control of me where I couldn’t control my body I couldn’t walk I couldn’t move I was just laying on the floor screaming. It was bad, especially how I  remember it happened about 11 years ago. 
Before I turned 10 my mom was getting married and I was admitted for a week and got out two days before her big day. I remember my mom being sad, but she was never mad about the situation because she has sickle cell anemia as well. She was so worried about her big day and I wasn’t going to stay admitted because I wanted my mom to be happy. I lied to the doctors to get out of the hospital by telling them I felt great and I need to be home with my mom to be in her wedding and they let me go. The next day I was at the wedding rehearsal and I was limping down the hall as the ring barrier. I fought the pain for my mom and because I couldn’t let her down. I was definitely in pain but I did my best to not let it get to me. 
I started to think that I can control my pain at the age of ten but that was a false statement. I went back to square one with getting sick and sicker did not know what to expect once again. I was just tired of it but what could I do? The doctors started to give me Oxycontin medication, and they told me to take it for pain and that’s what I did. After a while I believe I started to become addictive to the medication because I took it every 6 hours even when I didn’t have pain. If wasn’t for my mom not telling me her experience with the medication and telling me I do not need all this medicine at one time I don’t know where I would have wound up at. I let my mom give me my medication and she started to help me figure out how to control my pain in certain ways even in the most painful situations. As I got older I was getting to point to figure out what I can do and cannot do to take care of my health. Like what clothes to wear and when can I be outside and when I couldn't. Like for example I do not like pools only because they can get me sick and I experience having a horrible sickle cell anemia crisis or flare up after I would got out of a pool. After an experience at 12 years old of screaming in pain for help, I barely get in a pool. If I do I just stick my feet in the water or I do not stay in there long. 
Playing sports was something I love to do and it definitely was a huge part of why I got sick a lot. I loved sports but I knew the consequences of playing sports and the result I was admitted into the hospital so many times that I lost count. I really started to figure out the things I love so at the age of 13 I could care less what anyone says. Sports was everything to me and I stayed focused and played from middle school till my sophomore year of high school. Many people asked me why I stopped? I was 16 years old in my sophomore year in high school and I was admitted into to the hospital, my sickle doctor told me a story that changed my mindset forever. It's what persuaded me to not play sports. I started to focus on school more. I wanted to figure what am I was interested in and choose something that was not going to affect my health. I knew I was going off to college and I wanted to let my doctor know. He was asking are you sure you can go off to college? and to be honest I was not sure if I would be able to continue my education. I talked to my grandfather about it and he told me "Michael you are going to have this disease for the rest of your life you can either let it control you or you can fight it and achieve your dreams and goals do not give up. Pray, have hope, and you have to fight." I worked hard in high school, being involved and becoming a young man who is now inspiring others, so I kept the fight going. I want to be successful I have the hard work and commitment to push through the struggle of sickle cell anemia.
As of today, I am a sophomore in college majoring in Business Administration with a concentration in finance and minor in real estate. I promise to continue the fight and never let my sickle cell disease control me. 

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