‘My Parents Were Victims of Wrong Genotype Result’


Naijasicklecellwarrior Adebimpe Shenbote with a friend June 15 2019, University of Lagos

A gofundme appeal is ongoing for 22 year old undergraduate Adebimpe Shenbote to undergo a hip replacement surgery. Shenbote actively participated in the recent UK-based TunMicro Sickle Cell Foundation’s free genotype/SCD awareness event at Makoko, Lagos. Addressing a crowd of children and adults at Makoko, Shenbote told of her struggles with SCD, of undergoing eight surgeries as a result thereof and of how, despite every challenge, the condition was not a death sentence.

The beautifully endowed Naijasicklecellwarrior (as she dubs herself) tells the rest of her personal interaction with SCD.

Diagnosis With SCD

Shenbote at TunMicro Sickle Cell event, Makoko, Lagos

I was diagnosed with sickle cell anaemia (SS) when I was a year plus. I had two cousins who were also SS but who lost the battle. I also have friends presently living their best lives with SCD.

According to my mom, I wasn’t eating well and my feet were swollen from crawling. So she took to the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH). After running tests, they discovered that I have sickle cell. My mom was very confused because she knew my dad to be AA and she was AS. In reality, dad’s genotype is AS too. My parents were victims of a wrong genotype result.

Blood Transfusions

I have received many blood transfusions, especially as a result of surgeries. I also had one round of exchange blood transfusion (EBT).

Memorable Crises

It was on the day of my final diploma exam in UNILAG.I studied all night the night before and woke up late, so I had to bathe with cold water (I hardly ever bathe with cold water) I also had to walk to the venue of the exam because it was on a Saturday and you’ll hardly get a cab from DLI on Saturdays and my hostel was at the second gate. I hadn’t gotten halfway when I felt the crises coming. I sat to catch my breath then continued. I made it to the venue.

Fortunately for me, a nurse was stationed there to take care of emergencies. So I went to her and explained myself. She gave me Diclofenac injection and pleaded with the invigilator to allow me rest and take my paper with the next batch (the batches were in alphabetical order and my surname starts with an S). After the exam the ambulance took me to the medical center where I was admitted.

Having sickle cell has made me more appreciative of little things

I wrote the rest of my exams from the medical center with a cannula on my hand. I had to walk to and fro from the examination hall.

Stigmatisation

In secondary school, one of my teachers used to caution my mates – “E ma f’owo kan an oo. Ko gbo (‘don’t touch her, she’s very fragile!’). I was also prevented from participating in many activities.

Coping

I take it one day at a time. On the days I’m feeling great i do as much as I can and when I don’t feel good I rest and watch a movie. Also i have a great support system.

Outlook On Life

Having sickle cell has made me more appreciative of little things. I don’t take good health for granted. It has also taught me to enjoy and live in moments because you never know what could happen in the next minute.

To make a donation towards Shenbote’s surgery, please visit https://www.gofundme.com/surgery-for-scd-patient-with-avascular-necrosis

As of June 15, the sum of £582 has been raised for Shenbote’s surgery. The goal is £15,000.

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