Mum's Note
3 min read

Mum's Note

Mum's Note
Photo by Eye for Ebony / Unsplash

I am Anita Morgan, Vanessa’s mum.

My life, for the past forty years and more has been an arduous but interesting one and this is simply because I am a Sickle Cell patient, my genotype—SS.  Before I proceed, I would like to give honor and adoration to the Most, High God—HE has always been there!

My identical twin sister and myself were born to very physically strong parents who knew very little about the Sickle Cell condition.  Sadly, my sister passed away after a very short illness, and this prompted the doctor to have us take the electrophoresis test.  The results showed that my parents were genotypes AS, and we had inherited the ‘S’ trait from each of them.

Thus, my journey to the Sickle Cell Clinic at Korle-Bu started at a very early age, even though I did not have the slightest knowledge about the condition.  All I knew was the fuss my dad made over what I ate on a daily basis.  Marmite, milk whisked with the yoke of an egg, vegetables, fruits, molasses etc. was a constant feature in my diet—everything I ate had to be super nutritious.  Those were the good old days when you did not have to think twice about basic necessities such as food.

There is so much I could write regarding my journey down this Sickle Cell ‘Road’ but I do not intend to write an epistle.  All I want to do is to share with you some of the things I have observed over the years regarding what can trigger a crisis for me.  We all have peculiar problems, so this may not apply to everybody who has the condition, but for me, it has always created problems.

  1. Jumping into bed immediately after eating, whether in the morning, afternoon or evening.
  2. When humidity is high in the room.
  3. Removing my night gown when the weather is hot at night.  The cool breeze at dawn goes straight into my bones and then…trouble.  So, no matter the circumstances, I keep my nighty on.
  4. Waking me up abruptly from sleep
  5. When I get frightened or someone plays a prank on me and frightens me.
  6. Fatigue is my bitterest enemy.  If I break the rule, I land myself in serious crisis.
  7. Dew is another enemy, so I stray away from it when I attend evening functions that are held outdoors.  I also avoid going outside at dawn to exercise or go for a walk.  The early morning dew is not good for me.  If I have to do it, then I should be well covered.
  8. Stress—My job as a dressmaker demands meeting crazy deadlines sometimes.

The lessons I have learned through these experiences is that; you should know who you are, what your condition is, listen to your body, and most important of all, accept your condition.  If I sleep with a fan on, I wake up several times to adjust it to suit me. Luckily, for me, I don’t have a problem with sleeping, so I always go back to sleep immediately.

There’s a simple way of living as a sickle cell patient. Your medication of folic acid, multivitamins, B Complex is key.  Drink a lot of water to avoid dehydration, less stress, a lot of rest and off course your HB should also be on track.

Many people have not taken their time to understand what the Sickle Cell condition is all about.  When I met my husband, he did not know anything about it. He did not even know his genotype. I asked him to take the electrophoresis test (he didn’t even know what that was) and the results showed that he was AC.

I knew a man with genotype AA was what I needed.  My mum vehemently kicked against it – the equation was just not right—do I even have to marry at all, or even if I got married, was it necessary to have children?

I went ahead and married him.  He got involved with the Sickle Cell Association of Ghana and bought books to read on sickle cell, this surprised me greatly, and I have always been grateful.  We have been blessed with two adorable children, an SC and AS. Now more than ever before education is rife, so they are fine by God’s grace. Education is key and when you are well-informed about the condition, your decision is in your hands.

The next time I write, I will to tell you about the challenges I faced as a pregnant sickle cell patient.  I hope what I have put out today will be of benefit to someone out there, for now, keep the faith and continue supporting the Sickle Cell Cause.