Sickle Cell Disease Won’t Stop Me From Succeeding
Last week, I did something I never thought I would do. It’s something that people with sickle cell disease are strongly advised against doing. But it also has redefined my abilities and defied the limitations I once imposed on myself.
My friends and I took part in a 10-mile Tough Mudder Classic obstacle run — and when they say tough, they mean tough!
Between running in 84 F heat and tackling obstacles like the “Arctic Enema,” which entails being dunked twice in a giant ice bath, the course clearly was not built to be sickle cell-friendly. The exhaustion, physical exertion, and sudden temperature changes could all easily trigger a crisis.
I knew it would be a challenge, but at the same time, I wanted to push myself. I strongly believe that within reason, we shouldn’t automatically count ourselves out of activities solely because of our health. Instead, we should plan carefully, weigh the pros and cons, and then actually try. Never assume the answer is no!
Of course, this is easier said than done. We know firsthand the adverse effects sickle cell has on the body. Taking such risks may not seem worth the possible pain.
Around the time I was deciding whether to book the event, I was hesitant, and constantly second-guessed whether I should consider doing the shorter obstacle course, or even avoid taking part at all. I moved these thoughts to the back of my mind and began to wonder, “What if it actually goes well?” I hoped for the best and was proactive in doing what I could to prepare my body for the work it was about to take on.
Eventually, I tried and succeeded! I completed all 25 obstacles and pushed through the entire distance. I surprised myself and did much better than I thought I would.
I’m feeling very proud of myself and my friends, and I’m grateful for the way they pushed, pulled, and carried me through the obstacles I found most challenging. I know I wouldn’t have been able to do it without them.
This experience has shown me that sometimes our limits are self-imposed. Out of fear, we take advice from others as gospel, but as well-meaning and wise as it is, the input is not always completely accurate. Sickle cell is not a one-size-fits-all type of condition, and we shouldn’t treat it as such. Our bodies are amazing and can be much stronger than we think. The things we are capable of, even while dealing with sickle cell, are truly countless.
We need to stop assuming the worst, and instead believe in and build up our abilities.
Note: Sickle Cell Disease News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Sickle Cell Disease News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to sickle cell disease.