This comment was posted on the Sickle Cell Warriors Facebook page. Reading this instantly made me get on my soapbox and triggered a whole line of thinking for me.
“The life of a sickle cell sufferer is a very challenging one. I woke up this morning 5am in preparation for work feeling pains in my elbow joint and knees. I quickly took some pain reliever and a warm bath then, off I went to work. We work extra hard in comparison with the average healthy person to survive. I think I would have been a lot much successful, prosperous, fulfilled, richer and … if I never had sickle cell. Do you feel the same way too? Sickle cell kind of limits ones abilities.”
I don’t feel that way. I feel that sickle cell does pose some challenges for us; but it does not make having a good life impossible. [stextbox id=”custom”]We may have to find creative ways to achieve our goals, it may take more time and perseverance, but if you really want something and it is your destiny, NOTHING can stand in our way.[/stextbox] I have met those with sickle cell who are rich and successful, from all walks of life, who are doctors, lawyers, bankers and architects—who are married, having children, in love, and making their dreams happen. I always love interviewing those with sickle cell. Because in each person there is a spirit of never giving up, and those featured in the Warriors in the Spotlight section always continually strive to do better and be better. Please let’s not use having sickle cell as an excuse or a handicap to bar us from our dreams. Everything is possible, we just have to never give up, be prepared to work hard, and don’t quit just because we fall sick.
I don’t refer to myself as a sufferer. I am not suffering, I am not miserable, I am not hopeless. Everyone has challenges, and having sickle cell is my challenge. I am living, loving and surviving. I am a warrior…everyday I get up and fight for my dreams and goals. I may have pain today, and be in a full blown crisis tomorrow, but that is just a battle. It doesn’t define my whole life. When I feel good and am not sick, then I still press on, like a true soldier would. We have to change our mentality and stop feeling sorry for ourselves. A pity party does not get you anywhere—in fact, it just keeps you stuck in the same situation that you are in. Every goal is possible, we may have to modify it a little, or find a creative way to make it happen…but NOTHING is impossible with God.
Please let us shift our mentality. It’s okay to vent and be frustrated with the problems and issues in our lives once in a while, but enough with the constant complaining and pity parties already! Every human being has a challenge, even those without sickle cell. It may not be a medical condition, it could be a family situation, problems with finances, issues with a relationship or another health problem. Life is full of challenges and problems and everyone has them. That is what life is about…dealing with your challenges, learning from them, and becoming a better person through each adversity.
I hope that you find this forum a learning experience. Please let us not use having sickle cell as a crutch or excuse of the reason why we are not achieving and succeeding. The only thing standing in the way of your success is YOU! List out your goals and dreams, and start doing your research. Find a way to make each dream a possibility. Take your time, and even though sickle cell may slow you down…never, ever, ever give up! You can do it. If I can do it, if they can do it–so can you.