My Diagnosis With Sickle Cell Anaemia
I was diagnosed with SS at the age of 10, I was in primary five then. It was my first hospital admission at the Children Hospital, Tudun Wada, Kaduna. All my mother’s male children were SS. One died at age 5 or thereabout, three of us attained adulthood. All her four female children are AS and AA.
Event Preceding Diagnosis
I had pains in my hand and swollen ankles. It got so bad that I could not sleep. My parents were worried because until that day I never fall sick except for my elder brother who was always in and out of hospital. So it was a great surprise for the whole family. My parents were definitely not aware of their genotype before marriage. At the time they got married, there was little or no knowledge of what genotype is.
I received my first blood transfusion around 25 years of age. Before then, not at all.
Most memorable sickle cell ‘crises’?
This will be the crisis I referred to as ”My indefinable illness” in my book. This incident is better read in my just released book, titled, I’M A SURVIVOR. the story of my triumph over sickle cell pains’. This marked a defining period in my struggles with sickle cell disorder. I was bedridden for almost two years. I spent almost a year at the University College Hospital Ibadan. Had different complications of sickle cell. It was a traumatising experience for me, my family, friends and my caregivers. To God be the glory. I survived that life threatening experience.
Number of Times In Hospital
Let’s do a little arithmetic to answer this. First crisis at 10, am now 55. I didn’t have crisis in the last 4 years (I say praise be to God Almighty for His infinite mercy). This leaves 41 years. at an average of 4 admissions in a year this will translate to 164 times. This is in fact a very conservative estimate.
Sickle Cell Carrier X Sickle Cell Carrier unions
My candid view is that this is a union that one should avoid as much as possible. The pains that goes with bringing to life a child with sickle cell is a thing to be avoided as much as possible. The emotional trauma, physical pains, anxiety etc. are not easy to bear., both for the parent and the child.
Motivation For Writing I’M A SURVIVOR?
I always had the dream to document my experience as a sickle cell patient. When I turned 50 in 2016, I started giving it a serious thought but my role as a CFO (Chief Financial Officer) and General Manager in a company like Daily Trust newspaper did not afford me the time to sit down and write. I opted for early retirement at Daily Trust in 2018.This gave me ample opportunity to interact more with warriors through the platform of some sickle cell foundations here in Abuja. In the course of my counseling of warriors I kept repeating my story to motivate others. This was how the writing started.
How long did it take to write this book?
It took me about seven months to write and complete the manuscript and another five months for editing. The lock-down period was for me a great advantage to write the book.
Did you get discouraged somewhere along the line?
Not at all. Indeed, I felt motivated all through, I hardly sleep. I am always at my reading table writing. though at some point in the writing I will be at the point of tears when I recall what my brothers and I went through in our struggle with SCD, the pains of my parents in losing their children to SCD!
SCD puts the patients, their family, friends in hellish condition, it can stretch all to the limit, it is a struggle between life and death, a psychological and physical trauma. Despite all the obvious pains and struggle, it is a battle that can be won, though it requires extra-effort, extra-faith, can-do and never give-up spirit and painstaking management. The best cure for Sickle Cell Disorder is prevention! The book gives hope and let warriors realise that they have many reasons to live positive and purposeful life despite the SCD challenges.
4 Sickle Cell Warriors in Family of Eight
Eight children, four male, four female. All four male children, including myself, with sickle cell anaemia. One of the Sickle Cell warriors died aged 5 while the rest of us lived to adulthood.
How can this book be purchased?
We are taking advantage of multiple platforms to sell the book. Among them are Rovin heights bookstore, Konga (paperback), Amazon (soft copy only), Okada bookshop (soft copy), we have links which you can use to order and your order will be sent to you directly. For direct purchase in Lagos call Taofik on 08037015432 , in Abuja call Sam on 08169342359, in Kano call Magaji on 08036435009
Giving Back To Society
To add flavour to my book launch on World Sickle Cell Day, and to give glory to God, I am enrolling 100 Sickle Cell Warriors on Nigeria’s National Health Insurance Scheme at no cost. The awardees will be indigent SCWs from any part of Nigeria irrespective of their ethnicity or religious affiliation.