Reflecting on Another Year With Sickle Cell Disease

Columnist Mary Shaniqua recalls the highs and lows of 2022

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by Mary Shaniqua |

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For me, 2022 has just been OK in terms of sickle cell disease. I’m still not where I’d like to be health-wise, but I’m getting closer.

One thing I’d really like to celebrate is that I haven’t contracted any severe infections this year. That is a big win, and hopefully, the last few days of December won’t let me down. Infection is a major sickle cell crisis trigger for me, so fewer infections means a smaller chance of having a crisis.

One goal I set for myself at the beginning of the year was to improve my medication compliance, and I’ve done that. Though I didn’t reach 100%, I got closer than ever, with about 90-95% compliance. This has, in part, lowered my ferritin levels.

I’ve previously shared my battle with iron overload, a common side effect of top-up blood transfusions. I finally had my port-a-cath inserted several months ago, allowing me to switch to blood exchange transfusions. This should bring me a few steps closer to beating iron overload once and for all!

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Living With Sickle Cell Disease Is a Never-ending Battle

However, 2022 hasn’t been all good news, celebration, and progress. I was admitted into the hospital three times, which is too many for my liking. Of those three admissions, two lasted longer than a week. I’d like to go an entire year without any hospitalizations.

The most frustrating change I’ve experienced this year is being afflicted with more pain. The pain isn’t always bad enough to warrant a hospital admission, but it has bothered me much more than in previous years.

It really has been a year of swings and roundabouts.

That said, I’m trying not to dwell too much on the past. I think it’s vital to remain positive and keep looking forward. I truly believe that’s one of the only ways to remain sane while battling a condition like sickle cell.

As 2023 approaches, I’m considering what changes I’d like to see in the new year. I hope my iron chelation therapy and blood exchange transfusions continue to lower my ferritin levels. I hope to be as healthy as possible and reduce my number of sickle cell crises, which would mean less day-to-day pain. And, as I mentioned earlier, I’d love to have a year free of any hospital admissions.

I’m not a fortuneteller, so I can’t predict what 2023 has in store. But I am committed to making my health a top priority and making good decisions. I’ll continue to battle sickle cell and everything that comes with it so I can live as fully and freely as possible. Here’s to a healthier me!

To all my readers, I hope your 2023 is filled with good health, peace, and joy. Even when obstacles arise, make sure to keep looking after yourself.

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.


Ben avatar


Sending you loads of best wishes, and hopping your dreams for 2023 become reality.


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