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Sickle Cell Anemia in First Person

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Sickle Cell Anemia

My Sickle Cell Anemia Story My name is Haley Arsenault, I am fifteen years old and living with sickle cell anemia. That sentence sounds so sad, so depressing, as if that is the only way to define my existence. As if my disease defines my entire life when I have been doing everything I can to be a normal teenager, a normal high school student. It’s hard sometimes to distance myself from the disease because I am constantly reminded of it and how it affects my life. My parents, my doctors, my therapist, and my teachers are always concerned about me and it can be overwhelming. My therapist, Kate, is having me write down my “sickle cell anemia story” in my journal as a way to cope….well here goes nothing Kate! I think the best way to start would be the cause of my sickle cell anemia. The disease is strictly an inherited disease, meaning you can only get it from inheriting two genes for sickle hemoglobin, one from each of your parents. It is a lifelong disease with currently no known cure. Neither of my parents have sickle cell anemia but they are both carry the sickle cell trait. This means that they can pass the gene on to me but fortunately they show no symptoms of anemia and live normal lives (well, I wouldn’t say they are exactly “normal” but you know what I mean….). I had a 25 percent chance of being born with two abnormal genes, which happened, and the abnormal genes cause me to have the disorder. My parents and I are African-American which is significant because the disease is most common in this demographic. One in 12 African-American in the United States carry sickle cell trait and one in 500 has the disease. Sickle cell anemia is most commonly associated as being a disease that strictly plaques African-Americans but this is not true. People with families from Africa, South and Central America, the Caribbean islands, and some...

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