Though she loved children no end, marriage was never on the mind of Sickle Cell Warrior EseOghene Ekpuk-Ikpe. No Rapture happened – or, maybe it came wrapped in a Heaven-sent husband!
Born 20th September 1970, the 23rd child of a polygamous Delta chieftain, I had my fair shares of life’s woes coupled with my health challenges.
Growing up was quite challenging but, finding Jesus Christ changed my view about life.
Papa had lost some children to sickle cell blood disorder. Looking back today, I was the only one who survived and still thriving with Sickle Cell Disorder.
I was a daddy’s girl because of my intelligence. My parents separated when I was 7 and I was raised by Papa, siblings and stepmoms.
I was called an Ogbanje, emere and witch because I often fainted in school. I regularly missed classes many times because of sickle cell crisis. But, during examinations I would still outperform my classmates. So my classmates gave me so many despicable names. I began to hate school.
I went to Papa and I told him I don’t want to go to school anymore and outlined my reasons.
‘You are an Odeka’ he said. ‘Odekas must be educated. Go and fight them. If they call you names, give them double names.’
Papa told me all I needed to know about Sickle Cell.
‘Ese, with sickle cell, tomorrow isn’t promised.’
I practically put myself on a daily death list.
Until I met the owner of tomorrow and I wished Papa was alive to see his ‘Ese-no-oyibo’ turn 50. And Married with children.
They said death is sure until you’re 18…. I stopped taking my medicines, but death didn’t come.
They said death is sure except I reach 25. This instilled fear in me and almost truncated my education. I dared again and with my faith in the owner of tomorrow, I scaled through 25 with a loud party thrown by mom.
Get married and have babies, sickle cell will stop.
Mom pushed me into ungodly relationships to preempt death. She died and I got back on track with my relationship with Jesus Christ.
Marriage? No, not my thing. I love children and I planned to have 4 by different men. Later, I didn’t want to be married, I sought for rapture. I didn’t want death. I didn’t want anyone to weep for me.
While preaching and awaiting rapture, God sent me a husband and wonderful sons.
I have had my share of sickle cell complications, including AVN, but I still dared to do and accomplished many things by God’s grace.
They said, they are saying and will still say but, they don’t have the last say!
I dared with God in me and I made it thus far and I trust God for each day.
Many thanks to God, to my husband, Ekpuk Ikpe and to my two sons who call themselves legends. Legend Victor is 22 and Legend Samuel is 17.
To my comrades with sickle cell, my story is not yours and yours not mine. If your life is a song, sing it well.
The right to life is given to all by God… tomorrow is also not promised to anyone. If I die today, just know it’s my time. No sickness, no sickle cell killed me.
I’m grateful I made it to 50 and still counting.
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