The Gbolade Family

Sandy Springs, GA
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    Teniola Gbolade
    Sickle Cell Anemia

    Teniola is 11 years old and a awesome gamer!  On August 31, 2021 my son called me complaining of pain. I was at work so I did what any parent would do and ended my day early despite this being my 4th day on my new job. I speed down the highway rushing home to get my son to a hospital. When I got home he was balled up in a fetal position with vomit all over him. Because he couldn’t make it to the rest room that’s less than 5 feet from his bedroom. I quickly changed his clothes and grabbed water and blankets then carried him to the car. He was calm but I knew he was in more pain than usual. So I began driving as fast as I could because my soul kept on telling me something isn’t right. I continued to talk to him while driving asking him was he ok constantly. Teni replied “ Yes Mom” but as we were getting off the exit to the hospital I called out his name and he did not respond this time. I pulled into the emergency department and jumped out of the car to get him out and inside the hospital. When I picked him up and put him inside the wheelchair that valet had pulled next to my car he fell forward and the gentleman caught him. My son was lifeless and extremely weak. As I crossed the threshold into the hospital a women asked me “what’s wrong with him?” I replied “ he has sickle cell disease!” She grabbed him and ran to the back yelling “ We don’t have time follow me!” The next thing I saw was my son laying on a table and they began cutting his shirt off and hooking him up to all kinds of machines! People started coming from everywhere! I knew something was wrong. This was much more than a sickle cell crisis. My son was fighting for his life and I was terrified because he developed a bacteria infection in his blood and it caused his body to go into Sepsis Shock! He was given very high doses of blood pressure medication to keep him alive for the following two weeks. He was put on a ventilator for 16 days. The doctors were giving him lots of fluids because his body really needed it which cause him to retain 22 extra pounds of fluids. His body was so swollen. His platelets were disappearing by the hour. They went from 150,000 to 20,000 in 24 hours. By day 4 he only had 7,000 platelets in his entire body. They had to put this huge iv inside one of his main arteries for the blood pressure meds and that did not go so well. Because his platelets were so low his blood wouldn’t clot. So a tech was assigned the job of holding pressure on the IV so that my son would not bleed out! The doctors were ready to give up. I was a wreck but I knew that I needed to be strong for my baby boy. So I reached out to a very good friend of mine who happened to be a pediatric ICU doctor. I told him the situation and even asked him to fly to Atlanta to care for my son. He quickly replied “ I can help them over the phone!” They spoke came up with a plan and started working day and night constantly to keep Teniola alive. I felt so helpless. They put him on a special type of dialysis for 10 days to remove the fluid. He was given a plasma exchange and the platelets begins to go up. Teni was diagnosed with sickle cell disease at just 16 days old.

    Sickle cell is a red blood cell disorder. It is inherited. That means that it’s passed down the same way people get the color of their eyes, skin, and hair from their parents. There is no way to catch sickle cell and it is not contagious. Some sickle cells patients never get sick and some get very ill. It varies cases by case. After 18 days and counting we are still here fighting. The good news is Teniola is getting stronger by the day. He was taking off all of the machines and the blood pressure medicine. But unfortunately as he is getting better we noticed his hand was getting dark and swollen with blisters. The doctors let me know that sometimes when people get this sick and are given high doses of blood pressure medicines they run the risk of loosing their limbs. This happens because the medicine is designed the keep your heart pumping. So it slows down blood flow to your hand and feet. I am sad to say that my son did have to have some parts or all of his left hand amputated. It hurts to even type this by the way.   So I am humbly asking for your help no matter how big or small. Every penny is appreciated. We love y’all!

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