Meet Brittany: Caregiver and writer of poetry
January 11, 2018//
This week’s warrior in the spotlight is Brittany Hightower. Brittany is a caregiver who is beautiful, intelligent, and passionate about poetry. And oh yeah, she has sickle cell.
- How old where you when you found out you had sickle cell? I was diagnosed at birth.
- How were you able to cope with school and sickle cell? It was extremely hard being sick all the time. Sometimes I’d have to teach myself and figure out a lot with no guidance. I’d get assignments faxed to the hospital or get extra time to finish assignments, but even with all that I managed to make the honor roll!
- How did your childhood and your parents influence you in your choice of career? I decided to choose my career based on my God-given talents. I knew it would be difficult to hold down a job in corporate America based on my illness.
Work and Poetry
- What do you do? What kind of experience and schooling does one need to get your job? As a woman of many talents, I have a lot to offer. I write poetry and am working on publishing my work – yup share it with the world! As a personal assistant, I get to have a great relationships with my clients. I’m best at organizing and cleaning, but I can assist with pretty much anything my clients require of me. And trust me, the list is so broad, I can’t have one job title. I also do hair and babysit every now and then, but those are hobbies.
- Describe a typical day on your job. My job obviously varies daily. If I’m needed by a client then we will agree on a time for me stop by. An example of a day depends on what they need. Most times include basic cleaning the house room for room and laundry services. I also organize cabinets, clothing, closets, jewelry, shoes, etc. I get my clients through word of mouth or my care.com account. When it comes to writing, I’ll compose a poem and perform it for different occasions like weddings, birthdays, funerals, etc. But, I mostly write for myself right now as I am working on editing and publishing a book strictly focusing on sickle cell. It includes poems pertaining to sickle cell and my own personal experiences dealing with the disorder.
Managing Work with SCD
- How do you manage SCD and still maintain a thriving career? I pretty much just work on my own time. I am so blessed to have a talent that also pays the bills, lol. I’m very lucky to have such great, understanding clients that work with me around my illness.
- Have you noticed a difference in how your coworkers treat you once they know you have SCD? Because I am self employed, I don’t have coworkers but when I was a cashier I never noticed that I was treated any different.
- What advice would you give to someone wanting to join your profession that has sickle cell? Go for it and know that there is always a way to be successfull. You may have to take a different path and it won’t be easy but you can accomplish anything!
- Has sickle cell limited any areas of your life? Sickle cell has limited a whole lot things in my life – work, school, relationships, having children, and my body has been through war.
- When you do reach obstacles in your life, what helps you through it? God gets me through as well as myself. I push through because I know I have a purpose and I want to be a very large influence on the sickle cell community. I want to fill the purpose that God has laid upon my life.
- Do you have regular pain (more than 2x a week)? How do you cope with this when you are working? I have pain every day, so I take a regimen of meds to get through every single day. Every day I take pain meds, sometimes less than other days, but every day. When working, I just have to make sure I take meds when I need to. Sometimes the pain keeps me from standing so I’ll sit and work. The pain may slow my pace and then it will take me longer to complete my task.
- What is your daily medication regimen and what medications do you take when you are in pain? For my daily regimen I take hydrea, folic acid, and jadenu. For pain I take oxycodone and dilaudid every day as needed.
- How has sickle cell affected your personal life? For example, are you in a relationship, do you have kids, etc. Because of sickle cell I don’t want to physically have children but I’d like to adopt. I choose not to have children until I’m married. I am currently single and sickle cell does have an affect on my relationships since I’m sick a lot.
- Is there anything else that you would want to tell other sickle cell warriors? To really hope that this story helps someone in a big way. I want every warrior to know that you are wonderful and you can achieve anything despite your disease. Using my own words, “Sickle cell doesn’t control you, you control it. Don’t let it hinder you, not one little bit! “