Author Archives: Mary Shaniqua

Will Sickle Cell Inquiry in UK Improve Patient Care?

Last Monday, I awoke to a flurry of comments about the results of a landmark sickle cell inquiry here in the U.K. that uncovered evidence of racism in sickle cell patient care in the the public healthcare system. The report by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Sickle Cell and…

Sick, and Sick of Keeping Notes About Being Sick

I was unwell for a week in August. It began with deep lethargy. After about two days of that, the vomiting started. Everything made me vomit: brushing my teeth, drinking water, nibbling food. I went into the hospital after about four days because I was sure I was experiencing…

When Getting Used to Chronic Pain Becomes a Problem

I have a difficult time knowing when I’m not feeling well apart from when I have a severe illness. That sounds ridiculous, right? Because I have a chronic condition, someone might think I would know when I feel sick. But the irony is that a chronic condition can result in…

The Hidden Danger From Strokes in Sickle Cell Disease

I recently watched a film on Netflix called “Strain,” which depicts the life of a child with sickle cell disease. The film mentions that stroke is a symptom of sickle cell, which I don’t believe is widely known. To mark Sickle Cell Awareness Month in September, I have…

We Need More Awareness of Aplastic Crises

When a sickle cell patient mentions a crisis, most people think of a painful, vaso-occlusive crisis. I can understand why — it’s by far one of the most common complications of sickle cell disease. However, it’s not the only complication that can occur.  One day when I was…

Celebrating Another Birthday With Gratitude

Today is my birthday. When I was born, the life expectancy of sickle cell patients in the U.K. was 10 years old. It was worse in Nigeria, at 5 years old, which is why my family and I remained here in the U.K. My dad had come to London to…

Why I Sought Therapy With a Trained Psychologist

People often tell me that I make living with sickle cell disease look easy. It is not. Whenever people make these types of comments, I always think that because I was born this way, I don’t know any other life — not really. For the most part, I have grown…

My Concerns as COVID-19 Restrictions Are Lifted in the UK

Most COVID-19 restriction laws were lifted in England on July 19. This includes mask requirements, social distancing rules, work-from-home guidance, and the rule of six, or the maximum number of people allowed at a social gathering. July 19 has been dubbed “Freedom Day” here in the U.K., but I…