Darrin is a 23 year old guy who has already figured out what his purpose is. He is in school, working on his graduate degree. How old where you when you found out you had sickle cell?
I have been in and out of the hospital for most of my life, so I would say 4 or 5 years old I may have developed a basic understanding.
How were you able to cope with school and sickle cell?
School and sickle cell has been very tough. But, I am graduating with my B.S. in psychology in May. It has taken me 6 years to graduate, but I found that fight in me to keep going no matter how many hospital visits or setbacks I had.
How did your childhood and your parents influence you in your choice of career?
I plan on going to graduate school to become an occupational therapist. I honestly did not know what I wanted to do when I started college, so I took up business administration. My parents just wanted me to be in school, so I went. But as I continued my education I developed a sense to help others from a medical stand point. I researched various careers in healthcare and found occupational therapy. Since then I have volunteered under therapists and fell in love with this career. As of now I am just a full-time student. To become an occupational therapist, you need a masters or doctorates degree.
Has sickle cell limited any areas of your life?
As a child, and maybe still to this day, I have always wanted to play organized team sports. Unfortunately my health would not allow me to do that. I have accepted this and it has taught me that there are many other things in the world that you can do with your life. I don’t have kids and I’m not in a relationship right now, but that is just because I recently relocated to a new city, am focused on school, and am just 23.
When you do reach obstacles in your life, what helps you through it?
My sense of knowing that I will make a difference in this world helps me to do whatever I put my mind to. I feel like I have to work so much harder because of sickle cell. It does hinder me, but it also makes me stronger day by day.
Do you have regular pain (more than 2x a week)? How do you cope with this when you are working?
I do not have pain every week, but months at a time a crisis can pop up.
What is your daily medication regimen and what medications do you take when you are in pain?
I take Dilaudid or Morphine for pain anytime a crisis is coming on.
Looking at the 14 year old version of yourself, what would you tell him or her if you could…?
I would tell him that life will teach you many things. Do not give up on anything, and know that you will be fine.
Is there anything else that you would want to tell other sickle cell warriors?
I am glad to know that there is a community out here that is striving for much needed awareness. I look forward to becoming more involved with helping others myself in any way I can. Everyone has an obstacle and no one is perfect.