Meet Connella: Mom, Grandma, Entrepreneur, Warrior!


connellag Connella A Guilford is a phenomenal, energetic, enterprising woman who has not allowed SCD to limit her from being a mother, grandmother, and entrepreneur. 

How were you able to cope with school and sickle cell? I found out I had sickle cell when I was 8 years old. I had a praying Grandmother, and I did not limit myself until my body would tell me, “Ok, since you won’t slow down, I’ll make you lay down.” How did your childhood and your parents influence you in your choice of career? I must admit that it wasn’t until VERY recently that I figured out what I wanted to be when I grow up. Did I mention that I’m 41??? What do you do? What kind of experience and schooling does one need to get your job?  I am an Entrepreneur operating a Virtual Assistant Company, and I work for a Pharmacy Benefit Manager. Describe a typical day on your job. I work from home full-time and my day starts at 6 a.m., where I sit at a computer and have meetings via conference call ALL DAY LONG!  My day ends from corporate America around 3:30 or 4 p.m. and then I start MY business around 6 p.m. and I try to wrap up by 11.

cgsmall How do you manage SCD and still maintain a thriving career? I listen to my body and when it tells me to slow down, (and I don’t care what I’m doing in that moment) I slow down, even if it means laying down someplace close. Have you noticed a difference in how your coworkers treat you once they know you have SCD? OH YES!!! Because they know I’m a whirlwind dervish, if they know and sense that I’m doing too much they will call me on it on the spot…even virtually. What advice would you give to someone wanting to join your profession that has sickle cell?  LISTEN TO YOUR BODY! PERIOD! Has sickle cell limited any areas of your life? NONE. When you do reach obstacles in your life, what helps you through it? Prayer, inspirational music, and being still to regroup. Do you have regular pain (more than 2x a week)? How do you cope with this when you are working?  I have noticed that because I don’t move around like I did when I worked outside the home that I do experience pain more often. I attribute it to being in a stationary position many hours of the day. connella What is your daily medication regimen and what medications do you take when you are in pain?  Daily medication regimen…none. Pain: Hydrocodone. How has sickle cell affected your personal life? For example, are you in a relationship, do you have kids, etc. I do have 3 children and 1 grand child and they were unaware that I had it until they were teenagers.  So whenever I would have to go into the hospital I wouldn’t really tell them why because I didn’t want them to worry, and many times I would just suffer through the pain as much as I could so that they wouldn’t be sad or scared. If you do have kids, please describe in as much detail as possible, how your pregnancy, labor and delivery was. Do any of your kids have sickle cell disease?  I have 3 children (24, 20 and 11…soon to be 12) and each pregnancy was high risk, of course, but each one was VERY different. With my oldest it was text book…uneventful. With my 2nd there was a leak in my water bag at about 28 weeks, and I had to be hospitalized to try to keep him in as long as possible, to no avail. He was born prematurely via C-section, weighing 3.3 lbs, then dropped to 2.10 lbs. The 3rd was induced but for the most part was uneventful. Looking at the 14 year old version of yourself, what would you tell him or her if you could…?  Slow down…look for love in the right places not the wrong and you are not alone. Is there anything else that you would want to tell other sickle cell warriors? Yes! My Motto: BE PHENOMENAL…ALWAYS


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