A Word of Encouragement, Hope & Inspiration to the Sickle Cell Community……
9 And He said to me “My grace is sufficient for you . for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rater boast in my infirmities that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)
I greet you my brothers & sisters in the name of my LORD & SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST. My name is Lawanda Snowden and I am a 35 year old female with Sickle Cell (SS) Anemia Disease. It is my sincere prayer that this article will help inspire, educate, encourage, give hope to enlighten and help someone about the positive side of overcoming the negative connotations attributed to Sickle Cell Disease. My story is not unlike that of any other person living with Sickle Cell and all that comes with it; however, my focus today is not about the disease itself but what I have benefited from having Sickle Cell disease. What I mean by that is now that I am older and hopefully wiser, I’ve come to learn that God has a purpose for each and every one of our lives and He loves us more than we could ever imagine. When I was younger I use to curse God and wished that I had never been born with this “disease”. Like I said, I was much younger and naïve then and didn’t have a relationship with the Lord, I knew of him but I did not know Him. I recall talking to God one time and asking Him “why me, why did I have to be born with this disease”? His response was so powerful and clear that it stopped me in my tracks (literally). His response was why not you, why would you want someone else to go through what I have allowed you to go through? Now that was profound. You see it takes a special and extremely strong person to be able to endure and overcome a chronic, painful illness like Sickle Cell disease and all that comes with it physically, emotionally, psychologically, mentally and most important spiritually.
I tried everything I could to run from having Sickle Cell, but it wasn’t easy being the youngest of 7 children and the only one in the family with Sickle Cell. Go figure. I use to think why me, why not any of my other siblings, who were all way older than me. They were all born one after another, once again, I was the only oddball since there was a nine year gap between myself and my sister next to me. My mom and Dad waited 9 years to have their 7th child. What was that all about? My mom was my age when she had me; I use to think because she waited so late in her 30’s to have me that was the reason that I was the only one born with Sickle Cell in the family. Isn’t that crazy? So I vowed never to have any children because I couldn’t imagine bringing a child into this world with the possibility of having them endure a life of pain and agony. Once again I tried everything in my power possible to ensure that I wouldn’t have children.
A lot of it stemmed from the fact that I had doctors and other people in the medical community tell me that I couldn’t, or shouldn’t have children because of the Sickle Cell, as a matter of fact they told my parents and I that I probably would not even live past my late teen’s early 20’s. Isn’t that an awful thing to tell a child? It left me scarred for life and I let that dictate the way I lived my life. That is another reason why it is so important to educate and reeducate train and retrain the medical community as well as the whole community about SCD. However, back in the early 70’s they were just going off of they knew about SC which was not much except that the process was grim. That is one reasons why knowledge is power and I am so grateful that today that great strides have been made in the treatment and management of SCD. Although we still have a long way to go.
Based on the information that my parents and I received, I lived my life accordingly. I made stupid decisions that could have killed me. I lived a reckless life; I was “off the chain”. Oh don’t get me wrong, I was an angel and “Daddy’s Little Girl” in front of my dad, but my mom was hip to me the whole time. I had my dad wrapped around my finger up until I lost him to cancer at the age of 22. While I was five months pregnant, three weeks before I graduated from college and was suffering from avascular necrosis of my right hip that I wasn’t aware of and never even heard of, all at the same time; but God saw me through even all that and I still didn’t have a relationship with Him.
Despite all I had endured in my life at such a very young age living with Sickle Cell (SS) Disease, I did very well. I excelled in my academic endeavors and even managed to graduate from college with a 3.0 average with a BS in Business Administration and a 3.6 average in my concentration which was accounting. I started working at the age of 15 and I have over 18 years of work experience in corporate America, in the Accounting / Finance field. I have worked for Fortune 100 companies as an accountant pulling down as much as 60 + hour work weeks to include weekends, even with having nearly losing my life to complications of Sickle Cell Disease twice. I have had major surgeries that were successful, when my counterparts were not so fortunate.
I am a single mother of two beautiful and healthy children, who both have sickle cell as well. (A 12 year old son with Sickle Cell Disease and a 3 year old daughter with Sickle Beta ) Basically, what I am saying is that everything I tried to run from in my life, God has brought it full circle. I thought that I had to be an overachiever in every aspect of my life, I had a serious ego problem, so I tried to be the best at everything, good, bad or indifferent. However, I can truly say one thing if I didn’t have Sickle Cell Disease, I would not know the Lord the way I do. At the present, even though I am currently out on disability and am facing other personal issues, I can truly say as I write this article that I finally have the love, joy, peace and health that God intended me to have and the best is yet to come, Oh by the way, if you haven’t figured it out, my children both have different fathers and my daughter’s name is Destiny, coincidence, I think not. As I said earlier God has a way of bringing things full circle.