A Lifetime of Chronic Pain

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There are things you ought never to forget: mom’s birthday, your fist kiss, a wedding anniversary, the Pledge of Allegiance, where you were during 9/11 and that some endure suffering through no fault of their own.

There are men, women, children, families, friends and neighbors silently suffering with the genetic disorder called Sickle Cell Disease. Imagine being born with a disease marked by chronic pain that routinely escalates to “crisis level,” requiring emergency room treatment with a battery of high-dosage narcotics, followed by an extended hospital stay of three to 10 days.

The worst effects of this disease include stroke and organ failure. The most extreme cases result in premature death. This oxygen-carrying blood cell takes on a sickled shape, clogging arteries and depriving organs of vital nutrients. What results is a lifetime of chronic pain in oxygen-starved joints throughout the body. Some have described the pain as similar to that associated with passing kidney   stones or natural childbirth.

Although the predominant carriers of sickle cell disease are Blacks and Latinos, it also occurs in Africans, Asians, Greeks, Italians, Middle Easterners, West Indians and others. Until a cure is found, today’s care is focused on managing pain, strokes, heart attacks and coping with the hopelessness and fear that results from this disabling disorder.

Since 1994, the South Central Pennsylvania Sickle Cell Council has provided supportive services to children, adults and their families. To learn more about how you can support the South Central Pennsylvania Sickle Cell Council, call Joseph Robinson at (717) 234-3358.

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