Advice From Older Generations of Sickle Cell Patients Gives Me Hope

Previously, I’d never been in a room with more than five sickle cell warriors at a time, and those I met were always about the same age as me. But last week, I had the honor of participating in a discussion about sickle cell disease at the NHS Center for Sickle Cell and Thalassemia in Croydon, south London, here in the UK. Who came to talk?

It might not sound like much, but we spoke to about 20 people that day. Most of the audience had sickle cell disease, and the rest had a loved one.

Being able to share experiences with others is always a nice thing, but this time, I was in awe of the audience, especially at their age and how healthy they are.

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I’ve never met older sickle cell patients. The oldest I ever met was 43 years old. But on that day there were people with sickle cell disease up to the age of 84. Meeting them was an amazing experience, and I am very happy that I got this opportunity.

Sickle cell is usually expected to get worse with age, or so we’re told, so many hopes we wish we could hold for our future are limited. We think that our bodies may not be able to handle certain activities as we age. But seeing a woman with sickle cell anemia at the age of eighty-four seemed like nothing less than a miracle!

I spoke to this woman briefly and told her that her mere presence brings me hope. She shared with me how the doctors – as with many sickle-cell patients – could not believe she would live to such an age. Yet it is still mobile, cheerful and full of life. She defying the odds every day as an older sickle cell patient!

She advised me about the importance of eating well, resting, and managing my triggers. She said these things have to be done on purpose, and we shouldn’t ignore them. She also told me there’s no need to worry, because life happens regardless, and we shouldn’t spend so much time worrying. Instead, we should cherish every moment that life is blessed with.

This meeting gave me a lot of hope for a long life and the ability to accomplish amazing things. I discovered that even at an older age, sickle cell disease can be effectively managed, and life can be lived to the fullest.

What’s the best advice you’ve received regarding managing your health? What wisdom have you gleaned from older sickle cell patients? Share with us by commenting below.

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