Hey everyone! Our Warriors in the Spotlight series is back! We have a wonderful love story and an inspirational true life story from Abdoo, a strong warrior who lives in the Gulf. See how sickle cell is on the other side of the globe and get inspired by someone who went after his dreams….not letting sickle cell stop him for a second!
How old where you when you found out you had sickle cell?
– The doctor diagnosed me when I was 3 years old. But when I was 10 my mom started explaining to me what my disease is
How were you able to cope with school and sickle cell?
– Regarding my studies all the teachers and the principle understood why sometimes I was absent for 10 days from school and regarding the students they were supportive to me
How did your childhood and your parents influence you in your choice of career?
– In my childhood I always wanted to be a doctor because I’m always at the hospitals and I wanted to help people not just to be helped and my parents told me to go and become anything I had dreamed of becoming. But in the end I went to business school and I have my own gym and spa now.
What do you do? What kind of experience and schooling does one need to get your job?
I own a gym and a spa. You need to study business management.
How do you manage SCD and still maintain a thriving career?
– It’s normal really. I manage it with water , I always carry water on me and whenever the crisis occurs the receptionist at my gym takes me to the ER and I stay for almost 9 to 12 days so my brother takes over until I come back
Have you noticed a difference in how your coworkers treat you once they know you have SCD?
– My employees treat me with care and they are good and always remind me to drink water.
Besides, you are the boss! What advice would you give to someone wanting to join your profession that has sickle cell?
– Just keep yourself hydrated and keep away from stress
Has sickle cell limited any areas of your life?
– Yes, when I was. Kid I wanted to play sports but I never could. But at the end I started bodybuilding and it’s the best.
When you do reach obstacles in your life, what helps you through it?
– First of all god. Then my mother and my wife
Do you have regular pain (more than 2x a week)? How do you cope with this when you are working?
– Yes. And it’s fine with work, my brother takes over until I come back from being sick.
What is your daily medication regimen and what medications do you take when you are in pain?
I take 1500 mg of Hydroxyurea and 1000 mg of penicillin and 5 mg of folic acid. And for the pain I take 2 tablets of T3 “paracetamol with codeine” [this is Tylenol 3 in the US]
How has sickle cell affected your personal life? For example, are you in a relationship, do you have kids, etc.
It hasn’t affected me because before I got married to my wife she was the girl next door. She was my neighbor so whenever I got sick they used to come visit and I got to know her and now we are happily married. And I don’t have kids I’m afraid because I’m SS and she is AS I don’t want to take any chances .
Please tell us about your significant other. How have they helped you with sickle cell? How did your relationship evolve taking into account your sickle cell? When did you tell her?
She knew about it since they moved next to us and she was the support for me once we got together she always text me and calls me when I don’t see the text to make sure I’m not in pain and I drunk water and well hydrated and If I’m not feeling cold she always had my support.
Is there anything else that you would want to tell other sickle cell warriors?
Always be honest to people. If someone doesn’t want to be your friend because he or she is afraid of SCD then don’t go after them. Someone will show up that will give you all the love and care trust me on this one
When I was a kid until this day it’s difficult for me to live in my country because it’s in the Gulf and its always hot and humid. However it’s the only place where I’m happy. During my childhood all what I ever wanted was to go and play sports with the other kids. Whenever I tried to I got pain. I cried and moved around the bed. When my mom takes me to the ER and in the car she always told me this: ‘be strong honey’. We reach the ER they know me by my first name. This was years before Hydroxyurea. I get on the bed in the ER and my mom holds my hand and tells me, “I’m sorry son that we gave you this disease” and she starts crying. I always tell not to cry and that I’m not mad at my parents for my pain. And this was my case growing up. Nothing changed from this routine until 8th grade I was 14 years old and our neighbors just moved in. They had a beautiful girl and I was shy to talk to her. But I didn’t have to go and talk. Because my mom took us there to welcome them and when she saw me she said hi and I replied hi and then we started talking in her room and we became best friends. After 2 weeks I had my crisis and was hospitalized. She came to visit and I saw tears in her eyes. Then I realized I had someone that cared about me. We started dating at the age of 16 and got married at 20.
When I was 18, I went to the gym to try to be healthy and I started bodybuilding. My life has changed. I became healthier. Later, Hydroxyurea was brought up so I was very happy and healthy. I changed my mind from becoming a doctor and wanted to own my business. I went to university studied Business Management. Then family helped me financially and I opened my gym and spa. Within a year I repaid them all back.
Now I’m living with my wife for 5 years. We are very happy. But no kids. The doctor said I can have children but one of them might get SCD because I’m SS and my wife is AS. I don’t want to give to any child this disease. I don’t know why I’m just afraid that they will hate me. I never hated my parents for my Sickle Cell but no one knows how much does a sickler suffers from the pain. I don’t want to see my child suffer. Hopefully one day I will get a child or two but by then they would have made a cure other than Bone Marrow because it didn’t work for me. I hope this story inspires the warriors out there to become healthier and follow their dreams. And never stop loving people.