After last year's first-ever sickle-cell anemia cure scientists at John Hopkins are convinced a trend is underway. Robert Brodsky, director of the hematology division at the John Hopkins University Medicine, successfully cured Pamela Newton of Capital Heights, Maryland of her sickle-cell disease in May 2008 through a new intensive chemotherapy and a follow-up bone-marrow transplant. That was not just news; that was some of the most amazing news to travel through the African-American community in eons.
I'm no doctor and I certainly lean toward a more homeopathic route toward physical and emotional healing, but sickle-cell anemia is one of those diseases that seem to only respond to the magic within the medical industry. Like many, sickle cell has been a perpetual visitor in my family. All nine of my first-cousins and my siblings carry the sickle-cell trait [including me]. My mother and her siblings carried the trait as well. My grandparents and, I assume, a few of their siblings carried it, too. My mother's sister lived with the actual anemia and died at the age of 24. And on my dad's side, a younger cousin lives with the anemia. My maternal grandmother often told the story of a grand-uncle who used to run into the woods, screaming from pain. As a child the story of her uncle's behavior appeared bizarre. When her daughter was born with the anemia she then understood what her undiagnosed grand-uncle endured.
I'm excited to hear about Brodsky's discovery and confidence in this new interdisciplinary procedure. However, I do wonder if a healthier diet could help curb some of the painful episodes of sickle-cell. Healthier diets and stressless environments. I'm curious.
Keith Josef Adkins is an award-winning playwright, screenwriter and social commentator.