This week’s Warrior is Tarsha, a beautiful mother who has a strong faith.
I was diagnosed at birth with Sickle Cell Disease. Wasn’t told of my disease until I was about 8 years old. I was able to cope with school quite well up until after I graduated high school. It seems like my disease progressed once I reached 18 years old. Doctors have always been amazed at the fact that I was able to do a lot of extra-curricular activities with no complications. My mother and grandmother’s prayers kept me.
My parents never really suggested a certain career for me, they just always wanted me to do my best at whatever I chose. Because I didn’t have many problems as a child they never really worried too much I guess. However, at this moment I am unable to work due to SCD. I was a CNA and I went to school of about a couple months to get my certification. I wanted to be a nurse in the USAF but I was sent home after boot camp because they found out after testing that I had SCD.
Sickle cell has limited areas in my life as far as career and education. I can’t go to nursing school like I want because every time I start I end up getting sick and missing a significant amount of time and have to start over so I have been unable to finish. I want to go back to work but I have to change my profession because I can’t stand for long periods of time, I can’t bend or lift things. I plan to go back to school for Medical Coding and Billing because I will be seated most of the time.
What always helps me overcome obstacles is my faith in Jesus Christ. I know he won’t put no more on me than I can handle so I just keep positive people around me and I stay prayed up and I attend church regularly.
I do have regular pains and when I did work I took my pain medication a pressed my way through it because I had no choice at the time because I was a single mom and I had to take care of my kids. I take folic acid and I was on Hydroxyurea until I got pregnant, for pain I take hydrocodone or morphine supplements.
Sickle affects my personal life in a small way because I am limited to certain activity. I can’t run and play with my little boys as often as I would like. I’m always tired or once we get somewhere I’m tired or something hurts. In my marriage I feel bad because I feel like I can’t satisfy my husband as much as I would like because get tired it my legs start hurting etc.
I am married and my husband has been wonderful. He is always on my back to follow the doctor’s orders of course. He takes care of me when I hurt too much to move. He goes to the hospital with me and when I am down, he helps me cope in my depression. He encourages me to press on and not let SCD get the best of me. Our relationship has evolved because he understands what I am going through and even though I tell him that I hate to put him through all the ups and downs with SCD he lets me know that he loves me and he wouldn’t be with me if he didn’t want to be. I told my husband when we were dating about my disease because I wanted him to be well aware in case it got serious.
I have two beautiful boys who are Sickle Cell Trait. I was 19 when my oldest son was born so I had a pretty easy pregnancy, I was in labor for two days with him and delivery went fine, I had him natural with no medication…not my choice.. Lol! With my six year old I was 27 and I had a hard time with him. I had preterm labor due to the SCD and eventually I was put on bed rest and had to be monitored at home. I also had to walk around with a Trebutilin pump in my leg through an IV that I had to change whey four days. I was overdue with him. My labor was induced and my baby was under a lot of stress– he pooped in my water bag and had to be taken by emergency C-section. Of course I had to have a transfusion after delivery of both my kids but all in all through Christ we all came through it. I am 13 weeks pregnant now with my third child and so far so good. My hematologist is working very closely with my OB and my Neurologist because I also have a brain aneurysm and they want to keep a close eye on us both to ensure a safe and healthy pregnancy and delivery. I’m done after this though.
I would tell my 14 year old self to stay focused and just be yourself not who others want you to be. And that you are beautiful don’t compare yourself to other girls because you are beautiful in your own way, we are not all meant to be the same.
To all Sickle Cell Warriors continue to strive to be whatever you want to be, follow doc’s orders, and keep your faith in whatever you believe because you can’t go wrong. We are more than conquerors and nothing can stop us SCD included.