Hello there! My name is Maria Teresa Olivares, and I am 40 years old. Now…I has been suffering from Sickle Cell Disease my whole life, I am from Managua, Nicaragua, being a poor country I was diagnosed as a leukemia patient, suffering from hepatitis, kidney infections, liver problems since early age (5), until the age of 22 I was treated like a leukemia patient, I got married, lost my first child, (miscarriage), during my second pregnancy, I had a serious sickle cell crises, the child, my only daughter now 16, was born just fine, it wasn’t until coming to this country, and after a car accident, that the doctors finally said: You have Sickle Cell Disease….I am not black, I have not black roots in my family either…and my father and mother do not have even a trait of this disease…how I got it? Only God knows…. In 1994 I had the worst case of sickle cell in town!!! I had a heart attack, I had a stroke, blood transfusions every 2 weeks, a Gall Bladder surgery to remove stones and spleen…then in 1995 I had a surgery to stop my menstrual period…I had a right shoulder replacement, and a right knee replacement too. I forgot to mentioned that in October 1994 I had a morphine pump implant, to help me deal with the horrible pain…then my doctor started me with Hydrea…it was working until a second heart attack cames…I was depressed between nov./96 and may/98, a year and a half full of darkness, and with a big desire to take my own life, as the only way out of this suffering…with the help of friends from church (I am a Roman Catholic), family prayers and a little bit of self-desire, I go out of the depression,.. Thank God.

Right now I am in full service at church, as a cursillista de colores, trying to live my life as God wants me to…I am working again since June/98, I am dealing with the pain taking Ansaid 100 mg., Folic Acid..the Morphine Pump Implant…Hydrea,..my last transfusion was 03/15/02, my blood level still low…my last serious crises was only a week ago, I spend a few days at hospital’s rooms between Saturday march 24 and Thursday march 29…I am fine now, I hope..I am praying for all of those people who has to bear this awful pain in a daily basis, and asking God to keep an eye on us always…God bless you all!!! and keep fighting…a special thanks to my husband Alfonso, my beautiful daughter Christian, and my dear friends in the Carmelite Monastery in Salt Lake City, Utah, whom has been praying a lot for me, …God bless them all!!

Thanks for your attention…Maria Teresa Olivares Alma7784@aol.com West Palm Beach, Florida