Written by Sickle Cell Warrior on 15 November 2012
Julius is a dynamic young man that attaining his goals of a career in the IT field. He’s dedicated to his dreams, and inspires himself to attain his goals.
Hello Julius…How old where you when you found out you had sickle cell?
I’ve had it since birth, I always knew that I had sickle cell, but I actually realized the severity of it when I was about 12.
How were you able to cope with school and sickle cell?
It was difficult, anytime I’d get a crisis I would be absent for about 3-5 days of school. It was hard to catch up on school work, but even harder to explain to my peers why I was gone for so long.
How did your childhood and your parents influence you in your choice of career?
Well, I’m still a student, but I’m studying to work on computers in an IT field. My love of computers came from me being scared to step outside often. Especially since I live in New York, those cold winters could easily place me in the hospital.
What do you do? What kind of experience and schooling does one need to get your job?
I’m studying to be an IT specialist, which basically needs extensive computer understanding. It’s very difficult stuff, I never knew computers could be this complex
Describe a typical day on your job.
I’m a student in trade school, typical day consist of waking up, and preparing to dress appropriately for the day. How I dress is very important, I can’t risk getting too hot or too cold. I don’t own a car, so I take public transportation, which mainly consists of the bus.
How do you manage SCD and still maintain a thriving career?
Just have to be passionate about what you’re doing. You can’t let anything stop you. I always like to say “I have sickle cell, Sickle cell doesn’t have me”. You just need the small things to keep you going.
Have you noticed a difference in how your coworkers treat you once they know you have SCD?
From a few people, I’ve had people ask me if it was contagious, and constantly using hand sanitizer after contact with them. But I don’t let those things bother me; they have to live through life being ignorant
What advice would you give to someone wanting to join your profession that has sickle cell?
Do it. Sitting down in a nice toasty office on a computer is great for sickle cell patients. It’s not too physically demanding, its pretty good for sickle cell patients.
Has sickle cell limited any areas of your life?
Living in New York, I fear the winter time. I stay inside much more often, I hate when it starts, and can’t wait until it finishes.
When you do reach obstacles in your life, what helps you through it?
Quotes. I’m a poet, so I really understand the power of words. I google inspiration quotes all the time. By the way, the Sickle Cell Warrior facebook page has been huge for me.
Do you have regular pain (more than 2x a week)? How do you cope with this when you are working?
I have regular pain about 2x a week, I cope pretty easily. My teachers are understanding of my disease, and will allow me to go home if they feel that’s best. Since I’m still a student, I fear how it will be when I finally get a job. My “boss” might not be as understanding as my teachers.
What is your daily medication regimen and what medications do you take when you are in pain?
Daily, I only take Folic Acid and Multivitamins. For pain, I usually take an Ibuprofen or get some Motrin, if neither of those help then I’m headed to the hospital for my dose of morphine.
How has sickle cell affected your personal life? For example, are you in a relationship, do you have kids, etc.
I;m not currently in a relationship, but I have had an ex-girlfriend decide that she didn’t want to be with me because of my sickle cell.
Looking at the 14 year old version of yourself, what would you tell him or her if you could…?
I’d tell him to be strong, and that it will all get better once high school is done.
Is there anything else that you would want to tell other sickle cell warriors?