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Meet Nana: Student, Daughter, Future Medical Doctor, Warrior

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Hi I’m Nana Adwoa and this is my life story.

I’m 17 and I live in Ghana with my single mum (more power to her lol) and my grandmother. My dad is not really in the picture. I guess I found out that I had SCD when I was like six. My genotype is SC and as I’m typing this I’m home from boarding school because I’m in crisis but the worst is over. I do really well in school but because I’m normally tired I get told off a lot for sleeping in class 🙂 (It doesn’t help that some of my teachers are boring either!)

However despite my frequent absences from school and normal sleepiness I rank in the top 5 in my class and it’s God who sustains me. My parents are totally cool with whatever I pursue. The choice is solely mine and after reading the interview with the doctor who has SCD it inspired me to go for my goal of being a successful M.D. I haven’t really told anyone apart from my guidance counselor and a few friends and they even forget that I have it but what everyone thinks is that I have joint problems. It’s not my fault really my mum drummed it into me not to tell and this idea has been reinforced by the school nurse and a few others. But with the few people I’ve told they don’t really treat me differently and I’m completely ok with it. I would definitely say that having SCD has definitely limited me in some ways. I’m not allowed to travel alone and my mum is a tad bit overprotective. I can’t take part in some school activities. Since many people don’t know they take it the wrong way and I always have to be extra careful. Even sometimes stay away from my friends when they catch colds. My frequent trips home isn’t winning me many brownie points with my blissfully unaware teachers.

When I reach obstacles I’d like to say I handle them like a boss but I can’t. My faith in God is what keeps me going especially when I’m tire. I do have some friends who always encourage me and are always there for me. I don’t always get the pains. There are some times when I can go three weeks without having any pains and there are also times when I have the pain more than twice a week. Apart from taking my meds and drinking a lot of water, I tell my friends so they pray for me. I also cope by listening to music (it’s always been my escape).

In school I just get some rest in the sickbay and if it doesn’t get better I come home and see my doctor. I take folic acid daily and I normally take Tylenol and Olfen for the pain and Tramadol when the pain gets a lot worse. I’m currently single but I have this amazing friend who’s better than any boyfriend I’ve ever had (don’t get any ideas he’s not single). He’s always there for me and one time stayed on the phone with me listening to me scream in pain during a crises. I don’t remember ever telling him though but I’m sure I have and it hasn’t affected our friendship in any way.

I would tell the 14 year old me that God will not give you more than you can bear and that you are beautiful inside out and stronger than most people. I would also say that SCD should not limit or define you and that it’s ok to be honest about your condition.

For my fellow warriors I would say God loves you more than you know. Don’t give up and keep on keeping on. Always aim for the stars so that if you fall, you fall on the clouds and I leave you with one of my favorite Bible verses; Habakkuk 3:19 which says “The Sovereign Lord is my strength; He makes my feet like that of a deer. He enables me to stand on the heights.”
 God bless you all!

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Sickle Cell Warrior

Sickle Cell Warrior

Tosin is dedicated to perpetuating healthy and positive messages about sickle cell. Although sickle cell is a subject often taboo in the communities this condition is most prevalent, Tosin’s message is that sickle cell is not something to be ashamed of and you can live a rich and fulfilling life with sickle cell. Sickle cell warriors are the most amazing people in the world, with a great fortitude for compassion, willpower and strength.

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