Dealing with sickle cell disease is a constant battle. In every moment, I either am fighting my way out of a painful crisis or fighting to stay out of a crisis.
There is no rest. I can’t take my foot off the gas. I can’t decide one day that I no longer have sickle cell and that all the triggers that affect me one day won’t affect me the next. That’s wishful thinking.
Sickle cell is an inherited condition without a cure, meaning I have been dealing with this since birth. While growing up, I often thought, “Why me?” Occasionally, I wonder that today, too.
It is never “fair” for anyone to have a disability, but I believe that everything happens for a reason. As I grew older and my knowledge and acceptance of sickle cell increased, I started to understand myself more.
I am at a stage of my life in which I have accepted full responsibility and accountability for all matters regarding my health. I believe I have the power to make changes in my life that will positively or negatively affect me.
All of my actions have consequences. Instead of living unintentionally, failing to take control of my health, and seeing what sickle cell has in store for me, I started doing my own research about how it tends to affect someone throughout their life. I am working on minimizing the chances of future complications.
These complications might include stroke, blindness, severe organ damage, and other issues. According to my research, the best way to prevent future sickle cell complications and to improve my quality of life is to live a healthier lifestyle physically, intellectually, emotionally, and socially. I am adopting better habits, and gradually incorporating healthier behaviors in my daily life.
I am happy with my progress, but I must admit that if I did not have sickle cell, I would not be doing most of these things to improve my health.
Typically in life, if no issue is apparent, we have little motivation to improve a situation. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” as the saying goes. But I want to encourage you to take a more proactive approach to your well-being. Don’t wait for the worst scenario to happen before you work to make it better.
Irrespective of whom you are and what your current health condition is, something always can be done to make yourself look and feel healthier. I want to encourage you to start incorporating things into your daily routine that your future self will thank you for.
If you don’t know where to start, I have a few questions for you. When did you last:
- Go on a walk?
- Eat your five-a-day fruits and vegetables?
- Take your vitamins?
- Have a good night’s sleep?
- Spring clean?
- Drink a glass of water?
- Speak to a loved one?
- Schedule a checkup with a general practitioner?
- Go to the dentist?
- Read a book?
- Work out?
- Practice gratitude?
If it has been a while since you did any of these things, I challenge you to do one today. Let me know in the comments below how you get along!
Make sure to look after yourself to the best of your ability. Don’t rob your future self of a better quality of life due to the allure of instant gratification. Make small changes today and don’t take your health for granted.
Note: Sickle Cell Anemia News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Sickle Cell Anemia News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to sickle cell anemia.