Friday, June 19, 2015

SICKLE CELL DISEASE. THE STIGMA AND MISCONCEPTION

Kyrian and Ada were lovers, they were like best friends, they decided to spend their lives together until they both found out that they carried the sickle cell traits and it was possible to have a child or two, maybe three that would have the sickle cell disease, so they end their love affair of a few years.
While the decision sounded wise, there are other ways to deal with the stigma that comes with either having the trait or having the disease.
Sickle cell anemia is a blood disease. It is usually inherited from carrier parent(s). It is a rare disease that occurs in people of African or African American descent. It can also be found in some Middle Eastern countries and also Asian countries like China. It occurs when a red blood cell is sickle shaped as result blood flow is restricted and it causes damage to vital organs. The normal red blood cell is biconcave in shape and the surface area allow for blood flow across it.
 The first misconception I need to correct is sickle cell trait and sickle cell disease; these are two related but different words. A person with the sickle cell trait is known as (AS) genotype, here the person just has the trait and it takes mating with a person who has another (AS) trait to have a twenty five percent chance to have the sickle cell disease (SS).  A person who does not carry the trait is referred to as (AA).I have heard a lot of people refer to the trait as equal to having the disease it is not true.

The stigma that lies with the misconception is one of the reasons why education for this disease is not rapid, a lot of people bask in the highest level of ignorance even when there are enough information outlets about this disease. About thirty years ago, the stigma of this disease was almost on the same level as having HIV. It was said to have no cure but another thing is that it was not a sexually transmitted disease, neither did a carrier’s condition get worse just by having the disease. Two lovers would stop dating or try to get married as soon as the information about carrying a trait was disclosed as though all their children would come out carrying the disease. A lot of African parents would discontinue a relationship when the information was disclosed because they didn’t want cases of burying children. The truth is out of every four children, one would carry the trait, it is a twenty five percent chance, so what if all the children came out normal or just the trait?
It is sad that a this rare disease has killed a lot of relationships, if two people are brave enough to continue their relationship against all odds and decide to get married, the fate of their children inheriting this disease is in their hands. 
There are two ways of early testing of the fetus to know what to expect, the first is using a method called Amniocentesis is a procedure in which the amniotic fluid of a pregnant woman is tested in her third- fourth month of pregnancy for this genetic disorder, a needle is used to withdraw the fluid which is then analyzed for the trait, the other method is using the Chronic Villi sampling which is done in the second month of pregnancy, the mother’s vagina has samples taken out with a needle, the  genetic information from the mother is also the same as that of the baby and the information is taken to the lab to be analyzed, if the outcome of the analysis proves that the baby will have the disease then they can make the best medical decision as the deem fit with the help of a doctor.

Proper education and public awareness will reduce the ignorance and common misconceptions of this disease and step up finding possibly permanent cures to this disease.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

THE PROPOSAL NEW SERIES #2

I got a good feedback from Friday Ademola who is an active follower of mine on Twitter so i felt compelled to put another post on the story i am working on, on the blog. Enjoy~~~

“How far did you think? Sex and then next?” I asked bringing up the sex word.
“Sex?” he asked. I looked at him. He had the most confused look on his face, I was not sure what he was thinking but I seriously hope he is not a virgin, I seriously hope he doesn’t have a sexually transmitted disease and I seriously hope he is not celibate.
“Yes S-E-X?” I spelled out.
“I don’t intend to have sex with you?” he said. I couldn’t believe it, my self esteem dropped from one hundred percent to two percent; did he just say he didn’t intend to have sex with me? Was I not sexually attractive, what in the world was Tunde talking about?
“You don’t?” I asked.
“I haven’t thought about sex with you and right now I have no intention of having sex with you.” He replied looking at me straight in the eyes.
Let me analyze his sentence, he said “right now” so that means he could change his mind and have sex with me later or maybe Tunde is sexually attracted to other men. He didn’t seem like the kind but to be truthful Tunde and I have gone on several dates and he has only given me pecks on the cheek, like the Biblical times you know, the kind of kiss Judas gave Jesus, he kissed him on the cheek. Tunde’s pecks were passionless I never felt any emotion, was he just being a proper gentleman or he just couldn’t make my heart skip a beat or two. I am on the verge of losing my patience with this guy.
“I see” I replied.
“I just want to really get to know you for who you are, not trying to get into your pants or anything, I believe that is fair enough, I don’t know what kind of men you fated in the past, I don’t want to say I am different but I have my standards” Tunde said. I thought it was the most impressive thing he had said since the day we met.
“Okay, let’s give it a shot” I said. I had nothing to lose, if he decided to walk away tomorrow my goodies would be where I left them, untouched and protected.

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The traffic on the bridge took forever; I sat in the car skipping different radio stations trying to find out what would work best for me to listen to.  Work was hectic. There was a new manager in my department and she was the craziest looking piece of work I had seen in a long time with her uncombed and not a single drop of moisturizer like water had hit her hair in a few days, was she trying to start a revolution because she would be giving natural haired girls a run for their Shea Moisture products. She was trying to get into the system and had us all run around the department looking for files, documents, passwords, bringing back old things from almost eight years prior, I hoped in heaven she was not a slave driver because I would connive with me co workers and give her a run to the next department or simply just quit.          
“This woman was sent to torment us in this office” Lydia my coworker murmured as she walked past me in the office with a box of folders.

“Where I come from, we chase the devil with sticks” I replied and we laughed. The tension in the office was profound, everyone seemed to or had to appear busy, I hated working under pressure and my co workers acted like someone died in the office, everyone seemed melancholic. No one smiled and laughter seemed so expensive all of a sudden. I had the shortest lunch ever because no one seemed to want to sit down and have an hour lunch, time was of the essence. I couldn’t wait for 5pm and trust me it didn’t come quick but once I saw the hour hand of the clock on number five, I made my way out of the building.