Tag Archives: disease

PRIAPISM.

Priapism, Corticosteroids, Opisthotonus and LMP (which for all intents and purposes should be Last Menstrual Period, but is apparently not) are some names of teams that make up the (medliga) football league of the University of Ghana Medical School. It left me wondering how team names are chosen and what, if I ever ventured into that business of football club ownership, I would call mine.

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Now, Priapism FC. They go by the mantra, STAND STRONG, HARD and FIRM. Interesting isn’t it? Team priapism, new entrants into the medliga last year, actually ended up league champions. In the words of their coach “It is proof that with hard work and determination you can turn the most dire situation into success” The guys actually stood long, hard and firm. Taking a cue from them, I guess WE ALL NEED SOME PRIAPISM IN OUR LIVES. Eeermm actually, you really do not want to have the medical condition though. U can take my word for it.

I think at this point, a disclaimer is in order. MEDICAL INFORMATION. BRACE YOURSELF!

WHAT IS PRIAPISM?

Priapism is a medical condition in which there is an abnormal, persistent, involuntary, prolonged erection unrelated to sexual stimulation and unrelieved by ejaculation. Simply, the erect penis does not return to the flaccid state despite the absence of both physical and psychological stimulation within 4 hours. Priapism is a MEDICAL EMERGENCY and should be treated as such,

It is categorized as either high-flow or low-flow (which accounts for about 80% of cases). Management is based on this categorization, as both are managed differently. There is a myriad of causes of this condition such as spinal cord trauma ( neurological), enzyme deficiency (G6PD), drugs, malignancies and vascular (haematological-Sickle cell disease and trait, thalassaemia and leukaemia).

Priapism in sickle cell disease is categorised as low-flow priapism. Sickle cell disease accounts for 89% of adult cases of priapism with studies indicating that 42% of adults with sickle disease will develop priapism at some point in their life. In the paediatric age group, 2/3 of cases of priapism are in children with sickle cell disease. Evidently, priapism affects people of all age groups with its peak between the ages of 19 and 21 in patients with sickle cell disease. It obviously affects only men, usually African or African America (even though my reading yielded mention of a female equivalent, clitorism, which is not widely accepted as a true  equivalent).

Without going into much detail, what basically happens is that blood in the penis becomes trapped and unable to drain, leading to, ischaemia, scarring and permanent erectile dysfunction (if not promptly managed). In a person having a sickle cell crisis, just as occurs anywhere else in the body, there is occlusion of vessels, increased blood viscosity, stickiness of sickle cells to the blood vessel walls, depletion of nitric oxide ( a potent vasodilator), hypercoagulabilty of the blood, chronic inflammation and a lot more mechanisms by which  vaso-occlusive crises cause damage. It is thus no wonder that sickle cell disease accounts for a large proportion of cases of priapism and that so many patients suffer this complication.

The key feature of priapism in sickle cell disease is pain, apart from of course an erection lasting more than 4 hours. Immediate medical attention should be sought to prevent occurrence of complications. On reporting to the hospital, labs will be done to determine the levels of all blood cells. This is important in determining the actual cause of the crisis. Blood samples will also have to go through checks to ensure that you get the right blood group because management actually involves a blood transfusion. The doctor will also perform other tests, including angiography if necessary.

General management of priapism involves both medical and surgical interventions. Every patient who suffers priapism will need to see a genitourinary system specialist. In sickle cell disease however specific protocols need to be observed. For one, priapism is a complication of a vaso-occlusive crisis. Thus, the crisis needs to be managed effectively. The doctor will take steps you are probably already familiar with such as adequate hydration, analgesia, alkanization and oxygenation as appropriate.

Next step is an exchange blood transfusion. This would seek to increase your red blood cell level and exchange the sickle cells in your blood for normal cells from the donor blood. After which oral medication can be given. Then the blood needs to come out.  Under local anaesthesia the blood will be aspirated from the penis. This is crucial in reducing the swelling and built up pressure. If these medical options fail to bring relief, medication will have to be injected directly into the penis and if it still proves unsuccessful, a surgical shunt will have to be inserted.

As you have read above, this is complex stuff. Staying at home with priapism, even for persons without sickle cell disease, who may have it as a side effect of medication or due to recreational drug use, really is not a good idea.  The complications as I already mentioned are ischaemia, due to the blood in the penis which can’t drain, thus oxygen cannot be supplied to the tissues as well as impairment to the removal of metabolic waste. Damage to blood vessels, resulting in long term reduction in erectile function (impotence) and in severe cases, gangrene which will result in the penis being surgically removed.

What can we do?

  1. Don’t have sickle cell disease.  Radical as this may sound it has a simple explanation. Since you are more likely to have priapism as a complication of the disease, primary prevention, which I am very passionate about, is simply that you get tested and know your genotype and that of your partner and ensure that your child does not have sickle cell disease. Alternatively, IVF with genetic selection and bone marrow transplants and all the financial and heath implications that come with them need to be considered realistically and appropriate measures taken

2. For the rest of us who happen to already be born with sickle cell disease:

*stay healthy ie. anything to prevent a vaso-occlusive crises

*take your daily meds

*stay hydrated

*stay warm

*go for routine medical checks

*eat right

*avoid stress

*avoid use of recreational drugs

*pay attention to danger signs from your body and take appropriate measures…

Live each day to the fullest, make it count.

Love,

Sefakor-Enam.

(I hope this has been educational. Please like this post, comment and share. Thank you.)

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LITTLE PEOPLE!!!

Children! I love them. Really, what is there not to love? They generally love me too. The reason for the mutual ‘amor’? Well, I guess the kids can just sense that am not like the other big people. You know, putting a cap on all things fun, and such.

ImageWant to talk about imaginary friends?  Well, my imaginary twin was the best. I could go on and on about her. Let’s! If you want to play, please, let’s! I love playing. Children are very interesting people. They have so much to say, somehow the ‘big people’ think they don’t usually make sense, but they do. You just have to patiently follow their train of thought to realize how profound some of their statements are. Anyways, I had such a great time at the department of paediatrics I am seriously considering a carrier in paediatric haematology. I think I’ll have the most job satisfaction spending my days around children.

Let me just say, y’all need to start paying attention to the children. For one, they are not simply miniature adults. They are people. Actual humans, with the entire spectrum of emotions you and I feel. We can start by showing them a little respect and not considering them as ‘little people’ that are not smart enough to have a say in anything. What is that we say about life beginning at 40? Hell, by this, I ain’t even born yet, I guess that makes me one of the little people then. We the children would like to be heard, if that is not asking too much.

Anyways, while at the department of medicine I really thought there were too many sickle cell patients on the wards. Within the period, we saw sickle cell patients from about 20 to 65 years with conditions from pneumonia to infective endocarditis to HIVAN, etc. I also heard about sickle cell patients on other wards  in the department. Their current admissions may or may not have been directly related to sickle cell, but I was just uncomfortable with how many there were at any given time. I felt like sickle cell was following me everywhere I went.

Oh, but nothing could prepare me for my experience at the department of paediatrics. There were just too many children in crisis on the wards, it was simply traumatic. There were those who came in vaso-occlusive crises, VOC. They would spend a few days on the ward and be out, feeling absolutely well.  Almost always there was the characteristic ‘gi-normous’ well-used folder. Been there, done that! It really is not a pleasant feeling, spending a lot of time on admission and being jabbed constantly to get your pain meds and IV fluids.

At a point, one of the kids, absolutely terrified of needles threw such a tantrum when it came time to receive his pain meds, I really felt sorry for him. The child was screaming, on top of his lungs. He just kept shouting, “I’ll bite you, I’ll bite you, leave me alone.” I guess that was the most violent thing his young mind could think up to harm his ‘assailant’. Suffice it to say, he got his meds anyway and slept like a baby after. If only that was the most violent thing in the world, won’t it be such a peaceful place? Ok, some smart a** will probably produce a biological weapon transmissible through saliva, but still. Just think of the US sending a group of marines to Iraq to bite suspected enemy combatants. Won’t that be something?

Staying on topic. The constant admissions and how much school we miss really takes it toll. One of the kids I clerked presented with severe back pain. Another VOC. The child was in pain, yet would not cry. Brave kid! He kind of reminded me of…me! He was wincing, doing stuff I’ll generally do when I am trying to act all macho. Well, I noticed and checked his folder.  He was two hours behind on one of his pain meds. I prompted the nurse who attended to him immediately and he was pain-free and asleep in no time. That made two happy kids, yes, I was happy too.

So I returned to the ward the next morning and my friend was crying. Had been for quite a while. First thought, these people have delayed his meds again. So I asked, turns out he was fine. Very fine, actually too fine. He wanted to go home. That was the reason for the tears. You see, my new friend ranked 10th out of 34 in his class in the previous term and was two weeks away from exams. Simply he did not have time to be sick and on admission. He wanted to go back to school. Now, that is my kind of kid. You know the whole drink loads of water advice for persons living with sickle cell, I asked if he drinks his water and in the cutest voice ever he replies, “I drink plenty water so that my sickness will go away”. Tell me, this is not the best kid ever. Very determined, again, like myself. I hope he came out tops in class this term. He simply ain’t got time to be sick.

The second most common presentation of the children with sickle cell disease I saw was the jaundice and dark coloured urine combination. This one kid had very remarkable jaundice. I saw those eyes, and just had to find out more. After a few questions I found out he was SS. Thing is, he was 11 years. I don’t think he had any biceps or triceps to speak off. So I decided to measure his mid upper arm circumference, which we generally do not do for children of his age. It was less than 11. That is just to give you an idea of the severity of his malnutrition. Weirdest thing though, he had the most beautiful silky black hair. Malnutrition causes silky hair, (think kwashiorkor) but his was black. Whatever happened to the characteristic browning of hair?  Damn! I’ll pay to have his hair. There was no way this was due to malnutrition, but actually, it was!  By the way he was in class 1. Which is a class for 6 year old children, he is actually 5 years behind in his education. Turns out, he spends most of his time in the hospital instead of school.

Another child who had been on the ward for quite a while, presented with what was thought to be a vaso-occlusive crises. Later, treated for septicaemia, he spent about a month on the ward.  He was sick, he really wasn’t going anywhere. The whole time, his mom was at his bed side daily. Lord only knows the effect this had on her employment. X-ray findings later showed osteomyelitis (bone infection) which by the way is very common in children with sickle cell disease. Oh this kid was absolutely terrified of needles too. I think you would too after about a month of constant jabs. The plan, surgical management of the affected limb, which entails more hospitalization, more absence from school for him and work for mom, more health costs and so much more.

Stroke. Oh yeah, you read right. This child was about 10 years and had already suffered his second stroke. Young person! Stroke! Think sickle cell, you won’t be too far off.  ( Throw in other hypervicosity states into the mix for differentials). Thing with this child, cheerful boy, I must say, he had suffered a complication. Expressive aphasia. Simply, he couldn’t speak. He could hear and understand us but had lost the ability to communicate with us. I really have no idea what the long term plan for management is with this child, maybe some form of speech therapy would come in handy.

These are but a few of the wonderful children I met during my paediatrics rotation. I always made time to play, even once pushing one of the kids on his little car thingy along the corridors. When you have been on admission so often you really appreciate the little gestures.

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It was also sad, seeing so many sick children daily. Anywhere but the hospital! Children should be out playing, running around in school, yet, these children spend so much of their childhood in hospitals and my question is why? Simply, why?

Why are children still being born with a preventable disease? Why are children still being subjected to so much pain and illness? Is it lack of information or do we just not care about what the children we bear go through?

I keep harping on this point. It starts with you. Know your Haemoglobin genotype, and then that of your partner. Then you need to get us much information as you possibly can to help you make an informed decision.

What are the odds of you two having a child with sickle cell disease? Is that a risk you are willing to take? Can you afford to prevent it, maybe IVF with genetic selection. Is a bone marrow transplant affordable and accessible to you?

Or maybe you will have that child, because missing several days of work sitting by your sick child on admission will not adversely affect your finances. Maybe you can afford extra tutors so they don’t fall behind in school. You can afford all the medications, test and procedures to keep your child healthy. You can give that child a good life. Well, fine by me. As I always say it is a personal decision.

Ensure that you have considered everything before you make a decision. I am glad to be alive. I have a pretty good life, I can’t say same for others. Really, can you afford this? More importantly, can you live with seeing your child in distress?

In making that informed decision, remember, there are always variables that we cannot control such as a child with sickle cell disease having two strokes before the age of 10. You can afford it, but should you? Just consider this carefully and make an informed life choice.

Love,

Sefakor_Enam.

PHYSIO JUST GOT PHYSICAL!!!

You have probably figured by now that I love sports. Yeah, I absolutely love waking up early to go jogging. I also love basketball. I play as often as practical. I am no Kobe Bryant or ‘Mr. Kardashian’ (well, when he is not sticking his nose where it doesn’t belong, figuratively, of course),I dabble. It keeps the adrenaline and endorphins up. Maybe it has a little something to do with all the testosterone I get to float around in when I’m on court with the guys. wink*

Then the diagnosis came, avascular necrosis of head of femur! Oh, and it is bilateral.Damn!  Now, I am under strict medical advice to CEASE AND DESIST from these activities. You probably know the details from my earlier posts, constantly adapting part 1 and 2. Basketball is certainly off my ‘to-do’ list. Jogging had to go as well, Lord knows the kind of damage I could be doing to my ‘avascularly necrosing’ femoral heads with my thrice weekly jogging routine. With increased demand for blood by muscles during exercise, jogging really was not a good idea. Basically, the bone is dying because it is not having enough blood  and I want to exercise? No way! The doctors are just not having any of that! So these days it is just digiti minimi and her siblings who get to workout, with my constant typing.

Thus, my journey with the physiotherapists began. Yup, remember, Aggressive physiotherapy? I asked about alternative physical activities, immediately the ‘cease and desist’ order was written in my folder. The doctor suggested swimming. Apparently it helps a lot. The whole ‘upthrust thing’. You get a good workout without putting so much weight on  your hip joint. There is just this little issue. I have a fear of swimming. This is no phobia. It is a very rational fear of precipitating a vaso-occlusive crisis from the contact with  cold water. I am currently on a search for a heated pool in Accra, do let me know if there are any. I already got my swimsuit. (Y’all probably gonna get a pic of me in it when I find that heated pool)

Now physiotherapy has been fabulous, mostly. Its been a love-hate relationship. Some days, I love, most days, I absolutely love to hate it. I already shared some of the low points with you. Before I started physio, I actually thought  it will be just supervised workout sessions. Oh, I had it so wrong. There were a few exercises to help improve circulation, but none of the hard core stuff I was expecting. I wanted more. Bring on the real exercises people!

For the longest time, ( it really felt like an eternity) they had me on the fancy machines. I love them, they are great. I have not had any major pain since I started. I get the electromagnetic waves that stimulate muscle contraction and relaxation, helps with blood circulation and apparently, a lot more. Then I do the infrared physiotherapy treatment and I am good to go.

A few weeks ago, two thing happened. 1. I got a new physiotherapist. 2. Physio got physical. Yeah. Just when I thought I was done, Miss new physiotherapist wanted me to do some exercises. I almost broke into my happy dance, but you know we got to keep our act together all the time (Miss Medical student/ the ground under my feet should be worshiped, blah blah blah. ) This new physiotherapist just shot to the top of my favorite people’s list!

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Horizontal bars- for support during the squats and abductions. Stationary bike. I could be on it all day, but with the existing pathology that won’t be a good idea. (Skeleton in the corner. I always wonder why ‘he’ is facing the wall)

It was squats, and another exercise which had me bearing full weight on one limb while I abducted the other, then the stationary bike. Now, technical difficulty. I was coming for my fancy machine physio, and as usual, I was all dressed up. Oh, I really took my time with that. Make up and clothes on point, I was looking good and feeling it. Now you want me to do what? Squats? Thing is, I was in a skirt. A very nice, one at that, some may say tight. Anyways, “ y’all know I ain’t ever gonna pass up on  a workout.” I pulled my skirt up and got to it. Mmhmmm!

Oh, those squats. They felt good. I could hear my gluteal muscles saying thank you. (Lmao. This is just weird. Pun definitely intended, please say you get it.) So on behalf of my gluts, thank you Miss Physiotherapist. Of course she is not trying to give me a better looking derriere, but I guess this is what the economists call opportunity cost, or not. Anyways, with the exercise that had me bearing full weight one limb at a time, we discovered that, whereas it was painless on the left, it was absolutely unbearable on the right. Her conclusion, when walking, my left  leg is compensating for the inactivity of the right. If we don’t get me to exercising ( using those muscles) they will atrophy. Nice catch Miss Physiotherapist. Really, tell me she does not deserve to be one of my favorite people.

Now  the weird thing is, I actually gave my MRI to a sports and exercise medicine physician to review.  I just wanted to know if there was a level of physical activity I could get back to. Simply, I wanted to go jogging and ran around on the court with the guys! So he checked it out and he agreed with the orthopedic surgeon in most parts. For, physical activity, he said I could sign up for a gym, that had skilled personnel to cater for my specific medical condition. He actually mentioned the stationary bike and treadmill (set to walk, I have been cleared to walk by the orthopedic surgeons, no conflict there). No kidding, this discussion was on the day before I went for physio and had the therapist start me on actual physical physiotherapy. I did not say anything to her, she just asked me to go do the exercises!

Why is this big deal? Well, I was just considering signing up for a gym on my allowance. Yes. Out of my own pocket. There was no way in hell my parents were going to fund this. This gym with the well trained personnel and equipment to die for is a long way from school. I would have had to fund transportation too and also there is that little thing of finding time within the hectic fifth year schedule to go through traffic just for a workout , then come back to school. Yeah, it was looking very unlikely. Then out of nowhere this Godsend asks me to go  workout?

The physiotherapy department is within the hospital, on campus, I don’t have to leave school. The cost? Well, it forms part of my physiotherapy treatment, thus is covered by my health insurance. I pretty much get to workout for free. Technical difficulty tho, since I sneak physio into any free time I get during the school day, and my days have me all dressed and glammed up, I guess it is bring your gym clothes to school for me now. (errmm NO! I actually like playing dress up)

Pretty much, all things working out for my good. Init? It is a mindset thing. This glass is half full. I’ve missed a couple of physio appointments over the past weeks because of my busy schedule. The therapists won’t be amused. If you don’t hear from me, it will be safe to assume they had my head, literally. Will let you know how it goes. For reals tho, I’m gonna get my own physio equipment as soon as I can, that way I can get all my sessions done at my own convenience.

Regards,

Sefakor-Enam.

AGGRESIVE PHYSIOTHERAPY!!!

After defaulting on physiotherapy for about three weeks,  I went back sometime last week. Some  hostility was anticipated, but, boy, were they pissed! With good reason, I must add.

Physiotherapy like any other form of therapy, is a process not a single event. Missing a day, and in my case three weeks, was basically nullifying all the efforts that had been put in. I really, do know better, I shouldn’t have missed all those physio sessions. I’ve done the whole judgmental doctor/ medical student thing, when a patient with a chronic medical condition simply refuses to take their medication, and presents later with some serious complication which could most likely have been prevented if they just stuck to the recommended therapy. Yeah I get it, I shouldn’t have defaulted, there were just too many factors at play

Stimulator/ endotherapy machine, sends impulses, helps to relieve pain. (Pain gate theory)

Stimulator/ endotherapy machine, sends impulses, helps to relieve pain. (Pain gate theory)

Okay, so here we go. Obviously no excuse quite cuts it. But really, I hate physiotherapy. Simply. That is all I got. I just don’t like the idea of having electrical impulses passed into my muscles, to stimulate some nerves to cause the release of certain substances, which basically function to prevent me from feeling pain. Yeah, I know, what is all this? Principle at work is the gate control theory of pain. Apparently it works, and since I am too young for a hip replacement surgery now, that is all I got. Oh wait, that is not all, so after electrical impulses, we do the infrared rays  (thermal stimulation). Yeah, I hate it all.

Physiotherapy makes me feel disabled. In the “unable-to-function-unless-I-get-electrical-impulses-and-infrared-rays-passed-into-me”, sense of the word. You know that feeling right? Probably not. I didn’t even know such a thing existed till I started physio. Its like I need this, so I don’t feel the pain as my femoral heads turn to ‘cheese’ and collapse one of these days. What happened to the strong, independent woman? Apparently she needs to be ‘recharged’ from time to time to function. It doesn’t quite sit well with me. But hey, at least, I don’t have to be in pain everyday, I should be glad.

Then there is the whole messing with my schedule part of this physiotherapy thing. Medical schools generally, well, in my opinion, try to fit 48 hours of work into 24 hours. It is absurd. You wake up tired and go to bed exhausted. Anyways,thing is, I don’t have time to spare. I basically have to choose between physiotherapy and lectures or ward work. Of course, my health comes first, definitely physiotherapy takes it. But come on, I am not even sick, and am missing so much school work, walking in late to class and such. I don’t like it. Am just constantly in catch up mode. It sucks. I should be grateful tho, am not in that much pain these days, I am only scheduled to have physio twice weekly. It could be worse. I could be missing more classes. Guess I just gotta suck it up and hope for the best.

Now to the immediate cause. These things had been bugging me for a while, but the last straw that broke the camel’s back? Well, for one thing, it was a few weeks to exams. I could not afford to keep missing classes/ tutorials. On the morning of my scheduled physio appointment I had two tutorials. That is another beef I have with the medical school system, they cant seem to be able to keep to their own schedule. Timetable says, I am free, so I schedule physio, next minute, I hear a class or tutorial has been moved to this free time. lt is like we don’t have lives outside medical school,

Anyways, so I decided, to miss one tutorial, go for my physio appointment and rush back for the second tutorial. Those people don’t mess with their time. You are scheduled for a certain time, you better be there. And I was, but somehow, they delayed. 30 minutes, past my scheduled time and I hadn’t been called in. Obviously I was pissed. Why did I miss the first tutorial? I should have just gone for it, because, there I was, delayed 30 minutes, I probably wasn’t going to make it to the second tutorial either. This was just two weeks to exams. Those tutorials are important, not to be missed. So I went in, and calmly , maybe not so calmly  told the physiotherapist that she was wasting my time.Well, something to that effect.  Guess I struck a wrong note. For one, she was new, I had never met her.

So she called me in. And oh, she was rough. Those electrical impulses I mentioned earlier? They didn’t feel right. Felt different, continuous, painful. So I complained.( Ain’t nobody gonna be stimulating my nerves no wrong way.) Lord knows the damage she could have done.  Anyways, she did not quite seem to care. According to her she had set the machine to just the right amount of electrical impulses I was supposed to get. I know for a fact, it is not supposed to hurt while I get treatment. But she left me there in  pain. And there. I had had enough. After my treatment, I just decided, to hell with this physio thing. You ain’t gonna cause me to miss classes, waste my time, inflict pain and be giving me major attitude too. So I decided no more physio for me till after exams. I had more important things to do, So after I was done with exams  I returned. As I already mentioned they were pissed

Fortunately, this unpleasant physiotherapist was not around. I had one of my original physiotherapists. Initially the electrical impulses hurt, I complained and he managed to get it to stop hurting but still stimulate the nerves, unlike the “camel back breaking physiotherapist.”

So am back to my good patient ways. Been attending physio religiously. Except, for some strange reason, I forgot to go yesterday. Simply forgot, that has never happened. I never just forget. I may consciously decide not to go, but forget?. I suspect it has something to do with the french fries I was in a hurry to get for lunch. Hopefully they don’t get too pissed off on Monday, They really need to take a chill pill. I simply forgot. it Happens

MILLION DOLLAR QUESTION! (Series)

Went to see a GP yesterday, because I got this rash, apparently a hypersensitivity reaction to something. I don’t know what. Got that sorted. Then we got talking. Do you know some pastors flat out prevent people from getting married because they are both AS? ( Haemoglobin genotype). No. Really, seriously, am not kidding! (Guess that is a blog topic for another day, because I got so much to say.) mmm!!!

So on http://www.facebook.com/SickleLife I am asking a simple question. Well not so simple. Say you are AA, you don’t have sickle cell disease. There is no chance whatsoever of your children having sickle cell disease, they may have the trait, but, big deal, that is a problem for another generation, right?

So, WOULD YOU MARRY/ DATE A PERSON LIVING WITH SICKLE CELL DISEASE?

Admittedly it is a genetic disease, but I covered that, with the assumption up there that you are AA. So, it is not about being wicked or thoughtless and the other ways some (I’m guessing pastors included) like to describe it. This is just you and your partner.

You have got a little insight into my struggles with sickle cell, maybe have a few friends with the disease, observed their struggles too, read some material online. It is generally not easy, but it is a whole spectrum. So based on what you know, will you? Really? Date someone living with sickle cell disease?

I think the “MILLION DOLLAR QUESTION SERIES” is a great opportunity for me to know your views about sickle cell disease, your personal struggles and those of people you know. I could have gone straight to the AS/AS couple, but that is a little more challenging, considering the unknown variables involved.  Lets start with the simple and build up momentum.

So, is this something you can do? You are AA, your partner probably SS or SC. No chance of passing on the disease to your kids. Is this something you would do?

Please comment below. I would especially, love to know your reasons. Thank you.

Sickle Life? Really?

HI guys,                                                                                                                                             hope you are all well and staying healthy, living and loving each day for the blessing that it is.

I guess you are wondering, why ‘sickle life’? What is sickle life? Simply, it is my life.The daily struggles living with the sickle cell condition. The ups and downs. Yes, I said ups, because there are many, even though I battle daily with this genetic disorder.

So, who am I? Well, I answer this question everyday that I have breadth. I am African, specifically, from  Ghana, West Africa, but fundamentally, I am human, the one thing that unites us all, and to me, the only description that really matters.

I have been living the sickle life for 23 years, with all its challenges, however, for everyday that I am alive, I am very grateful, for an opportunity to live another day to the fullest. to make it count.

Non-conformist, is another description I use for myself. Simply because, I will rather create a path and walk it alone, than follow others, knowing that, more often than not they have no idea what my peculiar circumstances are.

Driven, passionate, that is who I am.Sickle cell disease may be considered a disability to some, but to me, it is another stepping stone to greater heights.The drive to be better than most, arose from the realization, very early in my life, that sickle cell, is no excuse for failure. Thus for every moment that I am healthy, I go all out to achieve success.

Thus, the brain behind sickle life,23 year old lady, who happens to have sickle cell disease. Life is the focus. Living each day to the fullest, making each day count and certainly not allowing myself to be limited by other peoples perceptions of this disease.

And oh, I also happen to be a fourth year medical student. Saved this for last, because really, it is not my identity. The point here is, my passion and drive, as well as my non-conformist attitude have brought me thus far. If you have sickle cell disease or know anyone with it, you have a fair idea of how much school I have had to miss, examinations I have missed or written in absolute pain, but despite all that, I have made it to medical school and I am thankful. It has been difficult, but I am not one to quit.

All I seek to do, is inform and educate you about Sickle cell disease, in a manner that is easy to understand. share my experiences with you, and ultimately get you to get tested to know your sickle cell status and hemoglobin genotype, so that you can make informed life choices.

Thank-you.