Laughing Through the Pain

Belefia Parks

They say having the disease isn’t a death sentence but living with it almost seem like death is around the corner though. I haven’t always dealt with Sickle Cell complications. I don’t recall having crisis as a child; it wasn’t until I got older that SC began to played a major part in my life. At one point it seem to had been making up for lost time. I went from feeling like I was being deprived of living, discourage to talk about Sickle Cell, realizing how blessed  I was and laughing through the pain.

My first memories of how serious this thing was came when I entered high school. I was just a typical teenage male, desiring to be social & wanting to play sports. For a while I played tennis and ran track. That’s when my health starting getting the best of me and the effects of SC began to take a toll on my body. I started feeling indescribable pain, like nothing I had ever felt before. This was a game changer, I went from being an active teenage boy with a social life to riding the bench. Due to the pain that I would experience from over exerting myself my grandmother made me stop playing sports. Though she issued a stern, “NO!” it did not stop me from asking numerous times. There were even times that I wasn’t allowed to go outside to play with my siblings due to not wanting to have to deal with the consequence. It took some time to realize that what I felt she was keeping me from was what was best for me. Now being older and more knowledgeable of my disease I completely understand why she raised me the way she did.  I lived the life of an abnormal kid not just due to my disease but because I was blessed to raised by a grandmother that cares for me. This made me realize that having the disease not only affects you as a person but it also affects the people around just as much if not more.

Over time I grew to know the world as judgmental and I chose not to have many friends. I have learned that people are afraid of what they don’t know. Often times I would be in positions that I was too uncomfortable to mention or discuss my illness with people in order to avoid being questioned. On occasions I’ve been ostracized  because of people ignorance of the disease. You can start to feel real normal in the world until people start reminding you how different you are. I’m human and at one point wished things were different for me growing up and even wonder how different my life would have been without SC.  I learned early that things were meant to be different for me. I’m no longer questioning it,  I just live every day as healthy as I can and enjoying it to the fullest. When I’m not busy with school I travel and do stand-up comedy.  I like to say I hit the sickle cell lottery, I’m out here winning with it. This disease is not funny, but I find myself always making jokes about it to help me cope with it better. So if you see a show with my name on it come check a brother out. I you can’t support my shows don’t feel bad you can always donate a little blood, I might just be the recipient that needs it!