Sickle Cell Anemia…through the lens of my partner
2 min read

Sickle Cell Anemia…through the lens of my partner

Sickle Cell Anemia…through the lens of my partner
Photo by Aatik Tasneem / Unsplash

Knowing your genotype is something that has been talked about over the years, but I never thought about it. It was not something that I thought was important to me. After I got married, I asked a few friends if they knew their sickling status, and they were lost. For most of them, it didn't matter. If the lady is beautiful, has a good character and comes from a good home then they are good to go, end of story. For the most part, this was my reality as well. If it was not my mother, being a nurse, I don’t think I would even know what my sickling status is. It never really mattered until I met Vanessa, then it made so much sense why I needed to know about it.

People generally have the idea that people with sickle cell are skinny and look sickly…confession, I thought that too. So, it was hard to believe when Vanessa told me about her genotype. I didn't believe her. I told her that it was a mistake and that someone made a mistake in the lab. I still didn't believe her until she got a crisis and ended up in the hospital. I am not an artistic person, but if you know my wife, you would understand what I mean. She is an African woman, a whole meal, I mean a complete balanced diet. How can she be SC? Na lie!

When she asked me for my genotype, I Initially thought it was a test or some sort of evaluation, probably based on past experiences; I mean, who would ask you about your genotype barely a week after meeting you. I was used to getting questions like “what makes Stephen tick?” and trust me, I had the right answer to make the right impression. I realized she was really serious about it, and this was something I have never really thought about when it comes to relationships.

After that conversation, I began to read and ask questions. I didn't understand certain things and I would confess that I still have my fears, but I have learned that being married to someone who has sickle cell requires being meticulous, sacrifice and most importantly a lot of patience because you would hear the phrase “I am tired” very often, and for me, that's the perfect time to say "I love you too"  and show my support. If I didn't meet Vanessa, I am very sure I wouldn't be this aware of how important it is to know your genotype before you even start a relationship. My experience so far has been quite smooth. All I know is that I am willing to go through the experiences with her. From my perspective, I would say, definitely know what you are going into, be prepared for unexpected situations, pray for strength to be a supporter instead of a discouraged and enjoy the journey... It can be exciting!