Sunday, July 30, 2017

How She Copes with Sickle Cell Disease

By Ashli Findley

Life can seem overbearing for patients dealing with sickle cell disease (SCD). Tanisha Hackett was diagnosed with the blood disorder at age 9. She has learned to cope in ways that alleviate much of the discomforts, including staying calm, praying, relying on her support system, and meditating.

“That doctor talked to me and taught me how to meditate,” says Tanisha about her initial diagnosis. He asked her, “What is something that you really enjoy? What do you like?”

She told him she loved the sound of rain, that it calmed her.

“The doctor said whenever I was having a sickle cell crisis, focus on hearing the ocean or the rain on the window pane,” Tanisha says. “From that day up until now, I still do that.”

Tanisha says having the support of her family has played a huge role in her ability to cope with SCD.
Photos by Melissa Donald 

With SCD, red blood cells take on a sickle or crescent shape instead of the healthy donut shape, causing blockages in the blood. It stops the blood from carrying oxygen to different parts of the body while bringing about extreme, indescribable pain in the bone, tissue, and joints. Once that pain gets to a certain level, it can only be treated with narcotics like morphine. The medication, coupled with the hospital’s IV fluids and inhaled oxygen, provide a complete remedy.

Tanisha’s type is hemoglobin SC, the second most severe. Once afraid to be a burden to others, this 45-year-old wife and mother of four now comfortably relies on her family for support.

“My support system is definitely my husband and my children,” Tanisha says, “and just having them here and the fact that I have educated them about the disease.”

They help her get around the house when she can’t on her own. Her husband also helps her make informed medical decisions when conversing with the physicians.

Tanisha has also put more effort into managing her health, which has minimized her trips to the hospital to only about once per year. She takes folic acid and vitamin D daily. She eats vegetables, which provide oxygen. She tries to maintain an exercise schedule. She sees a hematologist one to two times per year to check her blood levels.

Most markedly, Tanisha says it is her faith that has helped her cope. Being in a relationship with Christ, meditating on the promises of the Bible, and praying work best in keeping her calm and alleviating pain during a crisis.

“I truly believe it’s only because of God’s grace that I’ve been able to get through this and still have what I call a pretty normal life.”


  1. I am so proud of my Goddaughter. She has made us so proud of what she has done with her life. She and my daughter both have the same disease and I truly believe is the answer and what keeps them going. They have overcome many obstacles and both have lived a long fulfilling life. There is nothing that God can't do.

  2. Thank You! To God be the glory! I remember her and I being hospitalized at least once at the same time, in the same hospital.

  3. To God be the glory! I thank God for you Sister, my prayer is that other's will be inspired by your testimony.

  4. It is all in Gods hand and his Will. He knew u can help people with your disease and your story is a blessing... keep ur focus on Him Jesus Christ....

  5. Tanisha, your faith in God and ability to cope with this disease is a testament to others who face similar challenges in life. Praise God for you!

  6. You are such an awesome woman of God!! Thank you for wanting to help others with this snippet of your story...your entire life from inception is a testimony on God's love and were meant to be here! Continue to bless and be a blessing to all Tanisha!!

  7. BEAUTIFUL, BEAUTIFUL, BEAUTIFUL, to my precious God daughter, I am so proud of you and knowing how you have let the Lord lead you through this journey. God Bless and continue to

  8. So glad that this article was done. We need more awareness and understanding about SCD. Great Read. God Bless Aunt Tisha!!!!

  9. So Proud Of my Mother.. She sets the perfect example of a good, strong God fearing woman. She has shown great faith throughout the years and I love you more and more each day

  10. Yes this is a BEAUTIFUL Article. I am so thankful that my Sister.�� had the opportunity to post this Article. I hope everyone reads it. I 1001% support this Article. I hope and pray that they soon will find a cure for this disease. I Love you Baby Sister.�� and may God continue to Bless you. ����

  11. Yes this is a BEAUTIFUL Article. I am so thankful that my Sister. had the opportunity to post this Article. I hope everyone reads it. I 1001% support this Article. I hope and pray that they soon will find a cure for this disease. I Love you Baby Sister. and may God continue to Bless you.

  12. This is a very interesting and informative article. Thank you for sharing your story. You look fabulous Girl!

  13. Marissa Clark-AdamsAugust 5, 2017 at 11:18 PM

    I am so proud of you my beautiful cousin! Continue to be strong & let your light shine brightly for others dealing with this disease. You are living proof that there is always hope!

    1. I am very proud of you for sharing your experience with sickle cell so that others who have this illness will know there is hope.

  14. Tanisha, thank you for your powerful testimony. We readily acknowledge the fact that we are blessed in order to be a blessing to others;however, sometimes God uses our adversities to be a blessing to others. Just when they are about ready to give up, God allows them to see how we, by the grace of God, are dealing with our situation. May God bless you and continue to strengthen you. I love you cousin!

  15. Tanisha,you wrote my testimony.I was diagnosed when I was 7,I'm 50 now.Married for 20 years. Mother of 2 Wow!!! Without God and my family I would've gave up long time ago.May God continue to bless and strengthen you and your family


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