Friday, July 4, 2008

Going to School with Sickle Cell

One thing that I've learned with having this ailment is that I can't let it scare me or change anything about the way I want to live my life. I'm very determined and want to achieve all my dreams, goals and aspirations. I won't let anything stop me from attaining my full potential---and schooling was always on my list for something that was important.

There are alot of resources especially in the US for people going to school with a disease. Guess what---you are qualified as a handicapped person with sickle cell. This means that your school, teachers, administration and classmates can't discriminate on you based on your illness. Also, they can't flunk you out based on it--in fact, they are supposed to help you achieve your goals.

Now I'm not saying sit back and waltz through school without lifting a finger---hells no! But certain rules and expectations can be bent for you, as long as you have a documented medical history. The first thing you need to do is register with the Health Department at your school. This is that little building around the clinic where no one ever goes to unless they need condoms.

They are supposed to cover assistance for handicapped students. You let them know you have SCD, provide your doctor's statement and register for the service. When you fall sick, some schools have it that you can just call the Health Department and they will provide you with excuse slips or contact your teachers.

In addition, you have got to be proactive and stay on top of things. I know that I fall sick every 3-4 months like clockwork, so my homework is always done in advance, I read the syllabus and start drafts on all my papers while I'm healthy so that I have less to stress about when I'm sick. My friends also brought my assignments to me in the hospital and I was hooked up to painkillers and IV fluids studying for tests and completing homework.

It takes alot of guts and determination to keep ahead but you know that you have that cushion for when you do fall sick. And it's good student practice anyway.

Remember, you don't want a pity party thrown on your behalf. But if all you need are few extra days to finish a paper that you weren't able to get to, because you were sick and in the hospital, then by all means, go ahead and let your teachers know. Most people are sympathetic and will get on board with helping you out.

Another perk is that you are probably eligible for a bunch of scholarships that "healthy" people don't get. You can apply for all those Blood Disorder, Cancer, Sickle Cell and Handicapped scholarship. Plus your life story is a built in statement of purpose and might make you nail that scholarship:)

So go ahead---register, go to school and get that degree. I've known people with sickle cell becoming nurses, doctors, lawyers, engineers and bankers. You can do it, the sky is truly the limit, set your goals and achieve them. The only thing stopping you is yourself. Stop being a roadblock to your success and your future.

Just.Do.It!

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hello Vixen, You really inspire me. My name is Robin and I am a soon to be 36 yr. old female with SCD. I have been dreaming of going to nursing school for years but I have been really afraid due to my age and also my illness. I received my bachelors degree in Social Work in 1997 and that was a very tough time for me. I have been researching different nursing fast track programs here in Houston, Texas but I have not followed up on anything yet. I think reading your blog will give me a push to accomplish my dream. I just want to let you know that you are a true inspiration and I read your blog regularly. God Bless You :)

Pinkivy81 said...

Do you have a list of websites that show scholarships for those with SCD?

Vixen said...

Hello Robin! If you need any advice, support or tips on nursing school, drop me an emailand I'll shoot you my number. You can do anything you set your mind and heart to, you just have to remember to pace yourself.

PinkIvy, unfortch, I don't have a list of scholarships, but if you do come across one, please let me know. Make sure you register at http://fastweb.com to get alerted on scholarships there. Also, I know that UNICEF has some you might be eligible for. The National Sickle Cell Foudnation has an annual scholarship for SCD students but I think the cutoff was April. Do google searches and remember you are eligible for anything with blood disorders, or handicapped this includes leukemia scholarships etc. Good luck!

Sophia said...

hello from Cyprus...

i am 25 years old girl and i have SCD as well. while i was reading your posts, i was thinking that those moments describe exactly my personal life. hospital, huge pains, nurses who though that i am a drug seeker. i still live with the fear that i can not program my life..because maybe the next moment will find me in a hospital and bid doses of morfine or pethedine. so i learn to live the MOMENTS...TO LIVE THE 'NOW' and not waiting for the future to make my dreams come truth. i fight for my wants and my goals and i am proud of my self... i never let the SCD to win me.. who knows maybe one day i will kill that illnese completely. now i am 25... i studied 5 years away from my country and got a sociology degree...then i came back to cyprus and register for a master degree..in Mass Media and NOW....i am a PHD candidate and i am working as a media specialist. i have my friends who all know about my health problem, but we all forget the problem until it will occur. as i said before..I LIVE EACH MOMENT OF MY LIFE...AND I AM DREAMING OF THE NOW.

Vixen said...

Sophia,

Thanks for the comment. I'm glad that you are living your life and following your dreams. That is exactly what I want everyone with sickle cell to do. Let's stop allowing the limitation of our disease to control our lives. Live life by your terms.