Of all the words used for patients with sickle cell, the one that irritates me the most is Sickler. Grrrr! There is something about that word for me that makes me feel like an anathema, a blight or something out of the ordinary. Why can’t they just say…the patient, or Vixen, or something else. Why do you have to use the word sickler?

Drop the word sickler…it just makes me feel like you’re calling me names, a bad name at that.

People with cancer aren’t called Cancler, those with diabetes aren’t called the diabeters, people with MS aren’t called the scleroser—so why the fuck are you calling me the sickler? I know it’s a shorter way to say sickle cell anemic patient, but if you are going to give us a nickname, why can’t you make it something cool and edifying—something that actually shows the other side of what we are faced with.

Like the Survivor. The Fighter. The Warrior. The Soldier. The Balancer.

Any of these will do.


  1. Thank you. I agree completely. My best friend had sickle cell. I spent countless days at the hospital, just hanging out in his room like we were at home. I just heard this word on a movie I’m watching and it sounded off the first time I heard it. I’m glad I’m not the only person who thinks so. IMO, it’s disrespectful and degrading at the very least.

    My best friend Jeremy D Owens passed away in 2005 from complications from sickle cell. He had a crisis one night and didn’t have any of his usual pain medications on hand so he took something else and laid back down. The narcotic he took usually made him nauseated and this time he aspirated in his sleep and never woke up.

    I miss him dearly.


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