The Girl Who Has Sickle Cell Disease

Last updated: October 2022

Hello!

My Name Is Candance La’Dream Bradley and I was diagnosed with Sickle Cell Disease - SS Type when I was born. I had my very first pain crisis at the age of 5 and ever since then, I didn’t understand why I was going through it until my mom explained everything to me once I got older.

Unique from the start

Having sickle cell was so hard because I missed a lot of school, couldn’t do certain activities, and had to take so many medications. I am part of a family of five and I’m the baby with two brothers and two sisters. My mom had the trait but she never really had to be admitted or go to the hospital for any pain related to sickle cell. I’m also the only one out of all of my siblings who has sickle cell disease. I was born in North Carolina, Greensboro, and lived there for about two years then we moved to Pensacola Florida and I was raised there.

My formative years

Growing up with sickle cell was so hard because you’d be sick so much and miss out on so many things like sports, spending time with friends, and going to parties you name it. Even though I couldn’t do much like other teenagers I still had a great life. I still had opportunities; I danced for two majorette dance teams, attended after-school programs, and I even did a bit of sorority with my god sister as well. I also did a little cheerleading and track in school but due to my sickle cell and asthma, I had to stop doing track and eventually had to stop cheering as well.

Crisis after crisis

When I was sixteen years old my mom, oldest sister, her wife, and I all moved to San Diego, California. When I tell you I had the worst pain I ever had in my entire life that I had to get admitted for at least a week and a half. I think it was due to us moving and the elevation was changing cause when I tell you I was in extremely so much pain it was so excruciating. Eventually I got better and finally could go home.

So about a year later I started doing better I was a junior in high school. I was doing so good that I had friends, good grades, I was even attending in theater a few days. I had a pain crisis and couldn’t perform due to sickle cell pain crisis when I tell you I was so upset cause I really wanted to do the play but had to stay home and I eventually went to the emergency room and I had gotten admitted for two whole weeks. When I say I missed so much school that I was barely there due to sickle cell acting up so much. But I made sure I did the work and had it turned every week even if I was sick I still made sure I did my homework and got it done.

Progression of pain

So I graduated the eleventh grade and started my next year as a senior and I was either seventeen or eighteen years age.  I don’t know why but I felt like as I grew up the pain would get worse and worse. I don’t know do any of you guys agree with me on that? So I start my senior year and I’m doing so good I’m taking my mediations that I have to take every single day for my sickle cell disease because my sister in laws did not play with me about taking my medicine. I hated to take my medication because it was so many medicines I had to take. I literally had to take like seven to eight pills a day. I’m making friends but as soon as I start the new year I see that they are having cheer try outs, so I decide to sign up and it’s crazy cause every time I would sign up for something I end up getting admitted in the hospital for so many days at a time.

So I signed up and right when it was the day of the try outs I ended up having to go to the infusion center for pain relief. That didn’t help, so they recommended me to go to the emergency room so they wheeled me over there and I had to get checked in and eventually I went to the back. Soon as I got to the back they started IV and drew blood and when my results came back that my hemoglobin was low, which was 6.5, and they immediately admitted me and started me on a blood transfusion. I stayed there for like three weeks straight. My mom was so stressed out worried about me she would bring me my favorite snacks and my comforter and pillow from home so I can feel at home when I’m in the hospital.

My mom, my hero

My mom always prayed with me and she understood my pain. She made sure none of the nurses or doctors mistreated her baby girl I always loved that because she showed me she cared. She was there every time I would get admitted or even if I was at the emergency room.

Balancing pain and school

Few months in school it was getting close to graduation and I kinda knew I wasn’t gonna graduate due to missing so much school from having so many pain crisis. So I found out that I didn’t graduate and I had to repeat the twelfth  grade, but that was fine with me. I had to sign up for adult school which I’m finishing up now and I’ll be actually graduating soon. I’m so proud of myself because I’ve came a long way.

As soon as I turned 21-22 I had to stop going to the children's hospital and I started going to an adult hospital. When I tell you I was so anxious, nervous, and scared because I’m so use to being at a children's hospital. When I first had my very first visit at the adult hospital it was very a nervous moment for me but I overcame it eventually when I met some nurses that were caring, especially Valerie, she was so sweet and I’d never forget her. I always wanted  her to be my nurse every time I would get admitted. Haha, funny right?

A warrior sister

It’s actually September 7th 2022 and I’m admitted in the hospital now. I’ve been admitted since August, 8th 2022. Eventually,  I had to spend my birthday in the hospital. I was so sad, but my mom kinda thew me a birthday party! I was so excited because I didn’t know what she was up to. She even had my friend planning it as well.  She also has sickle cell ss type and was admitted in the hospital, and we were like 3 doors down from each other. It was the first time we have both gotten admitted almost the same time. Me and my mom took her some cake and visited her for a bit. She even visited me and brought me chips and candy. I love her. She eventually got discharged, but she wasn’t getting better and had to go to the infusion for pain management. She gave me a call and asked me if I wanted anything from the cafeteria and I actually got her to get me a few snacks from the vending machine. She was so sweet she had brought them after her visit and stayed for a good 30-40 minutes and we talked.

A fighter forever

After that I was really hoping to get out of the hospital sooner but I’m still fighting and I’ll never stop. But I just want to send a message to all of my warriors and let you guys know that we are fighters and just because we can’t always do certain things doesn’t mean we can’t become a nurse or lawyer what ever you wanna be just be yourself and thrive!! Remember we all got this and don’t give up!

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