I was watching ‘Moments with Mo’ on Africa Magic Entertainment sometime last week. It was an old episode on Sickle Cell and the consequences etc, which I had watched a long time ago before then so it was my second time of watching it. Mo Abudu had people living with sickle cell on the show and a woman who had lost her child to sickle cell. There was also a man who had broken up with his girlfriend because they stood the risk of giving birth to a Sickler.
I’m sure y’all have heard about Sickle Cell Anaemia (SCA) or know people living with it or people that have died as a result of it..:(. I’ve not actually seen them go through a crisis or been close to a sickler with the SS genotype before. People with SS genotype have severe sickle cell anaemia while people with a milder genotype like SC have less severe or no symptoms. I have a cousin with the SC genotype. I just found out when she got admitted to a teaching hospital after she started vomiting blood, had turned completely pale and developed a fever. She’s 5 years old; my aunt said they (she and her husband) found out when she was 3 or so. She doesn’t have the crisis that the SS ones have but she a times has difficulty breathing because of her asthma and looks very bony, although she is the most playful out of her siblings who are not sicklers.
I was worried when I found out that my cousin was SC and the only question I had to ask my aunt was “but didn’t you guys know your genotype before you got married”. As if she read through my mind she started gisting me about how when she and her husband were about to get married they had checked her husband’s medical records and found he was AA. She already knew she was AC (never heard that before? It’s quite rare) and so they got married. It’s when their second born (the sickler) started falling sick and they found out she was SC, that they took another blood test (she and her husband). Her own was still AC, but her husband’s own had 'changed' to AS. Ah!! What a surprise, how could that have happened? But it was obvious it was true or how else could their baby be SC.
They had asked the important question before marriage, but now all had changed. Theirs is an exceptional case of people who asked each other about their genotype before marriage, but were greeted with shock after marriage. But how many of us ask that important question before marriage or while dating? (hoping the records are correct or better still take a new test). How many of us are married and didn’t check ours and our partner’s genotype before marriage.
It’s a very important area to touch before walking down the aisle or better still before even attempting to fall in love. Seriously, it’s no beans. The woman who came on on Mo’s show, the one that lost her child to sickle cell (he was 35 years of age and married with a child) said if she knew her genotype and her husband’s before marriage and had foreseen all the suffering she would go through she won’t have married her husband. She still has another child with sickle cell that is 32 (would be older now since that Moment’s with Mo episode was in 2010 or so).
Now no need to fear, sicklers do live long, (especially now with more advancement in medicine)but they go through a lot of suffering!! One guy on the show said his doctors told his mother he wouldn’t live past his 21st birthday but he was still alive at over 60!! God does work miracles. Still on the show, there was a couple who said they had known their genotype before marriage but had gone on with their marriage with faith in God. The wife is a sickler and their first born is a sickler, but a very mild one. They are very lucky she doesn’t have frequent crisis. They seemed a very happy couple and confident in their faith in God. I’m happy for them, but how many people have that much faith. Some people say they have faith, but how much. A lot of people go ahead with their marriage knowing they are both AS and end up being unhappy and seriously traumatised when they give birth to a sickler. Late Pastor Bimbo Odukoya in her book ‘How to choose a life partner: 165 questions to ask’, writes
“Q. 146. Are our genotypes compatible?
Medically, it is advisable that an AS genotype should not marry an AS genotype
to guard against the high possibility of giving birth to an SS child........
However, we have an all-sufficient God and with faith all things are possible.
Be sure to discuss this with your mate. If he or she does not have enough
faith to believe that you could have only AS genotype children, then you should not proceed
any further. If your faith is strong and you believe, then you may go ahead. You must
however, consider two things: you should not have too many children; and in case you
have an SS genotype child, can you cope with a sick child?........”
She’s said it all
It’s a serious issue I personally musn’t play with since I’m AS. In fact there is an experience I had that touched me. When I was doing my IT in 400 level in a community pharmacy, there was a day a very thin looking guy came in. He looked jaundiced- his eyes were yellow. He held his prescription paper feebly then handed it to me. I sensed he was a sickler but didn’t want to conclude sha. Anyways his prescription was for diclofenac (a pain reliever), but not just any diclofenac. Let me bore you a little (or even more if I’ve been boring you since); diclofenac (D) comes in two forms; D potassium- which dissolves in the body faster and hence suppresses pain faster, and D sodium- does not work as fast as the former but is effective. His doctor prescribed the former. We had only D sod in stock. He took his prescription paper and started to leave. Oh no, I wasn’t going to let him go, not like that.
Me: “Why don’t you buy D sod?”
Him: “My crisis comes at night and I’ve tried EVERY pain reliever and they don’t work. My Doctor says this will definitely work”
I was right, he was a sickler. I begged him to please just take what we had. As in what was running through my head was what if he doesn’t get it elsewhere and he dies in his sleep at night from pain...GOD FORBID!!.. It will be my fault, indirectly..“wo you must take what we have” (in my mind). He finally agreed and boy was I happy. He took only one satchet sha since it wasn’t what he wanted (He actually wanted to buy a pack of 10 satchets of D pott!!)..The koko is that I was sha relieved and since that day I said “ah, my child will not suffer!!!”
So, please friends ask o..hmmm... and before you fall in love o..I’m serious. Yeah you met this cute guy/girl and you can bet that you guys are made for each other, but have you asked them their genotype, especially when you’re AS, AC, SS or SC? Forget myths that state that between AS and AS genotypes, it is only a 1:4 chance of having a sickler.It’s a lie, that 1:4 chance is per birth. Read your biology well if you are or were a science student or even if you’re just curious.
So you’re wondering but how will I ask? Won’t I come across as too forward? I don’t know o, but just pray you get a chance to ask the way I did..:) Let me share a personal story.
Once upon a kinda long time, I met this cute guy- I mean he wasn’t cute the first time I saw him because I was too shy to look at his face. But the second time I saw him it was love at second sight.. We became good friends. As in we click in every way..too much chemistry going on...But then something kept nagging me, “better ask about his genotype o, before you fall completely”. We were still in the friends zone then, but I knew I had begun to fall for him. So I panicked. How was I going to ask? I started going paranoid. “What if I ask and he lies”...what if, what if.... Then finally one day..gen gen gen gen...his brother fell sick..and it was a good thing.
We spoke that day:
Bobo: My bro’s sick
Me: Eeya, what wrong with him?
Bobo: I think it’s malaria..he’s been down all day
Me: (My heart started to beat. This was a chance to ask..seriously! I didn’t want to blow it)Does he fall sick all the time. You know tha AAs always have malaria frequently (nice one shey..*wink*)
Bobo: Yeah he does, maybe that’s why.But I don’t fall sick like that
Me: Ehn, ehn.....What’s your own genotype sef?
Heart beating, head pounding, hope getting lost gradually, gradually, gradu.........
Bobo: (cutting through my emotional frenzy) AA
Yepa!! Ope O!! My heart started dancing ‘alanta’. My head stopped pounding. I smiled a big wide smile and said a silent ‘Thank God’ in my heart.
So, that was a long post. I’ll leave you with a question Mo asked on her show.
When do you think is the right time to ask: Before dating, during dating or just before you walk down the aisle?
Or will you not ask at all?..... I mean seriously???!!!!
I leave you with these videos...
I leave you with these videos...