When asked what event changed my life the most, the answer came to me faster than the solution to 1+1. My life defining moment happened on June 12, 2005, when I was diagnosed with Sickle Cell. In all the years I have had this disease; I have found it to be both a blessing and a curse. It has contributed to my positive outlook on life but it has also caused me physical and emotional hardships. While I wish I did not have to live with the daily grind of having this it has made me a more responsible, mature and empathetic person.
The best way to describe the circumstances surrounding my diagnosis was that it was basically routine. I was very sick, worn out and nervous when I walked into North Mississippi Medical Center in Tupelo Mississippi. I was a frail and pale 8 year old girl weighing 60 pounds and standing at a mere of 38 inches. My blood oxygen was off the charts; they quickly hooked me up to an IV and diagnosed me with Sickle Cell. Being a young girl, not knowing what Sickle Cell was nor having the capability to cope with its diagnosis, my first response was "cool." Fortunately, my condition was caught early, but still untreatable.
Initially, I did not have the ability to handle the personal situations that I was going to have to face on a daily basis. The social pressure brought on by feeling different was difficult for me. When returning to elementary school, I had a paranoid fear that other kids would find out about my disease and quickly dismiss me as their friend. I feared rejection, so I took every precaution possible to keep my disability masked. I was fortunate to get special medication and privileges in middle school, but still did not have the maturity needed to deal with the social pressures of the disease. Kids where getting mad at me for me going to the bathroom in the middle of class, because the teacher wouldn’t let them go. I was terrified that if I put my medicine in my backpack that it would fallout, so I hid it in my sock.
When I left the hospital at such a young age, I realized I was going to have to grow up and deal with the