‘You don’t look like a Sickle Cell Patient’
‘You are hardly in the hospital, your case may be different’
I heard these statements today and I have heard them too many times to count. Each time, I smile. They are both endearing and intriguing. And each time, I ask myself how is a sickle cell patient supposed to look like and must we always be around the hospital?
Of course, the marriage between a sickle cell warrior and the hospital is the real ‘till death do us part’. Yet, I couldn’t help wondering each time someone makes one or both statements to me if, we must always be found navigating between the corridors of a hospital, screaming our heads off for people to believe we are truly sickle cell warriors?
For one thing, the first statement is always endearing because it shows my family’s relentless efforts all these years in making sure I live as healthy and normal a life as possible has paid off. Add to this is my small efforts at learning all I can about my condition and taking good care of myself.
We all know how powerful the mind can be and what we feel our mind more or less determine the general outlook we have about life. The power of positive thinking can never be underestimated and that is what I usually try to make people understand.
The simple truth is, my case is not different. In fact, it is just as serious as any other warrior’s and just maybe even a little bit more serious than some, but the power of positive thinking has kept me happy and comfortable with my condition. This positive thinking is backed by what I love to call the three A’s. Acceptance, Assurance and Assistance.
Remaining in denial will not make our condition miraculously disappear neither will it do us any good if we constantly bemoan our life and keep uttering the famous ‘why me’. The first step to maintaining a positive outlook in life is acknowledging and accepting whatever situation we find ourselves in. Once we accept that, it becomes easier to deal with the situation at hand as the pros and cons are weighed, helping one take their chances at happiness or sadness. I accepted my condition, acknowledged the challenges and setbacks I may face and then choose HAPPINESS. Attitude is everything.
(Coming out of a hospital rendezvous, yet my smile remains bright)
With acceptance comes assurance. There is always this quiet assurance that  my family will always be there to cheer and push me on in this journey we call life and  knowing you have your God by you always is the strongest assurance any one could ask for. With my God Jehovah by me always, I have always remained positive in my fights because I know he will always make a way out till the end. Faith is essential to positivity and while I don’t claim to have the world’s strongest faith, my mustard seed like faith has always been strong enough to see me through each battle. That is the quiet power of assurance backed by positive thinking.
We are not islands and especially in this fight for survival, the absence of any strong support system would make the battle end faster than it began. I have read at one point that to deal effectively with any challenge, one needs the following, a strong support system; love, determination and to those who believe, faith. I have had all these all my life. My assistance as always has been there; be it from family, friends, well wishers and my God Jehovah.
SO to those who see me and say ‘she doesn’t look like a sickler’, I am one, I just don’t have to look abnormal because there is nothing abnormal about us. And am I always around the hospital? Yes but hardly do I make that define the course of my happiness. Challenges and all notwithstanding, I choose to be happy because our happiness is what we make… and I have decided to be a very HAPPY WARRIOR.
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ARREY E. AGBOR-NDAKAW.