Nothing could tell me what I could or could not do, not even any of my three big brothers. They ran, I ran faster to keep up, and even faster when they didn't want me to follow. Highly competitive, trophies adorned our bookcase at home from their accomplishments. Medals, photos of their big games, and jerseys that, over time, they couldn't fit into but I would wear when they weren't around.
In my youth I didn't think my parents did right by keeping me out of competitive sports,. They didn't know much about Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) much less how to handle two boys with an unrelenting desire to be active carrying the disease. The second youngest of all of us, Brandon, is the stronger of us two with the disease. Having had his appendix removed while in jr. high, somehow Brandon was able to do all the things a young passionately competitive athlete could do. That and many other things were the things I admired about my brothers. To this day, much of my passion for health and sports is derived from the days we played endless games and dozens of rematches as kids. Maybe I was the victor one in every hundred times, but fighting ninety-nine times was always worth that one time I'd shine.
There were times when I would drive myself over the limit all to become more competitive. I've spent too many days and nights in excruciating pain from training and even playing recreationally. One element of life which cannot be ignored is the fragility of it.
I have heard stories and read several articles on sudden death of athletes during sports. Although the probability is rare, it resonates with me more when I learn that the athlete had a trait or suffered from symptoms of SCD. Knowing that when I push myself to these limits, it could very well be my last push. So when I push, I push true, I push with sincerity and I push with gratitude that each moment is the moment.. I know my limits and I do well to stay within them. It has been nearly four years without any complications due to SCD and I treat everyday like it's so much better than the day before.
There are mornings when I learn that my body hasn't healed enough, and that extra set or two may have been too much.. A vaso-occlusive crises is a pain that shows you how deep pain can be, how writhing and how horrific the body can be tortured by a simple code in one's DNA. Even during those times, I have endured and I remained thankful; at least pain can be a reminder that you're alive.
While life in this body I will do my best to learn how to care for it the best way. I want it to be capable beyond its and for as long as I have life. This is why I AM here, this is why Aah Athletix is here for you