Have you ever seen the show “Family Guy”? If you have, did you see the episode where Peter Griffin was hired for a news segment called “What Really Grinds My Gears”. Well if you haven’t, It’s when Peter --on second thought, go watch it. It’s season 4 episode 28. It’s really funny! No really, go watch it, I’ll wait!...Ok, did you see it? Hilarious right? So I say all that to say this:
YOU KNOW WHAT REALLY GRINDS MY GEARS?!?!?!? 😡😡😡
When I reveal to someone that I have SS, I get this strange look of pity followed by an unsolicited comment like, “Oh, you poor thing. How you holding up?” or “I’m so sorry to hear that. I knew someone that DIED from SS”
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the SS abbreviation, SS means Sickle Cell Anemia. How they got SS from Sickle Cell, is beyond me, but anyway.
I was diagnosed at 6 months old with full blown sickle cell anemia. Not the trait, the actual disease. Throughout my life I have dealt with the disease, but it has NEVER! I REPEAT, NEVER slowed me down. Ok maybe a little. I mean if you’re running up 10 flights of stairs at the speed of light and expect me to be at the same pace you got another thing coming! Then again, my heavy breathing and heightened heart rate may be the consequences of being dubbed the “junk food kid” since childhood all the way into adulthood.
Hmmm. Maybe I should start eating better and get on that treadmill soon. Right after this last scoop of ice cream.
People have this misconception that being diagnosed with a disease means a life of limitations and an early death sentence. I am here to tell you that, THAT is the furthest from the truth! I know, for me at least, that sickle cell anemia has been a reminder of how amazing God is.
Growing up, I was always told to slow down, I’m not like the “normal” kids. I was told I wouldn’t achieve much academically because stress would be too much on my body. I was told that no one would marry me because, no one would like to “deal” with that.
Every discouraging word from peers, doctors, and even family members, was an opportunity for God to show me that with man, it is impossible, but with GOD. ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE! See, as you’re reading this post, not only am I an accomplished government employee, I’m also a masters holder-- ANNNND, I will be celebrating my 4th wedding anniversary in May!
What I’m trying to say is…the automatic assumption that somebody is NOT living their best life because of a disease…HAS GOT TO STOP! God is out here in control of EVERYTHING AND EVERYONE! That includes every cell in our body, both good and not so good. Therefore, we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us (Philippians 4:13). The best part is, this isn’t just limited to people who have sickle cell, but to all mankind!! If you were born with a “not so perfect body”, don’t be discouraged. You are loved, you are perfectly made, and you can achieve ANYTHING!
So, the next time someone decides to reveal to you something as intimate as their SS diagnosis (believe me, its information we try to keep to ourselves), don’t give us the pity party parade. Encourage us, compliment us, let us know that God is our strength and we can do ANYTHING!! This isn’t only my opinion. In fact, there are MANY SS warriors out here, fighting to live life contrary to their diagnosis. If you would like to read about some of them, please visit http://sicklecellwarriors.com/ It’s a website dedicated to sickle cell patients who are beating the odds and achieving greatness every single day!
Oh! and one more thing--Please, PLEASE, for the love of GOD--don’t tell us you knew someone that died from it!!! That’s freakin’ morbid! How would you like it if you told me that you had a cold and I responded, ”Oh really? I knew someone that died from that!”
Phoenix Sky is a native of Massachusetts living in New Jersey with her loving husband. She is a teacher/counselor for the HCCNJ Youth and Teenage ministry. She is also a certified mediator for youth and family. In her spare time, she enjoys acting and singing; and hopes to one day write books regarding parent-child relationships and challenges of the female Christian mind.