Picture of Jackie my nurse and me, Yum Yum

Thanks for visiting my page. My name is Antonika if you're angry with me. Otherwise you can call me Yum-Yum. When I was a little baby, my Daddy would come home from work and he would hear me making little sounds with my lips while I was sleeping, usually right after I had eaten. He said that it sounded like I was saying "yum-yum", and the name just stuck!

The picture you see is one of me and my special nurse, Jackie. See, I have sickle cell disease, and I get to see her a lot. This sickle cell disease is not anything I'd choose to have...it just happens to some people even before  they're born. It does makes me realize, though,  that when you need help, it's important to have people around who really care about you. I sure do!

Here's how I explained sickle cell to the kids at school. I told my classmates that everybody has different types of cells called red blood cells and white blood cells. I forgot about the platelets. Anyway, I told them that my red blood cells weren't round like theirs were, and that sometimes the cells crowd up and make me have a lot of pain in my stomach, or my head, or my legs. Definitely NOT fun! What's as bad as the pain is the way some kids and teachers treat me. I get really mad when I see the teachers talking about me, and sometimes I cry when kids say things like "you have a disease and I don't want to catch it, so go away!"

You know, if I were in charge of the world, I would make sure that all families in the whole world were happy. I'd give the money to the people on the street who need help, particularly the kids whose moms have died. I really feel bad for them! And I would definitely teach everyone that it is not funny or fun to tease when you don't know how it feels. Once and for all, If I touch you, you CANNOT get sickle cell disease. Really!

I got to go the "The Hole in the Wall Camp". It was so much fun. The best part was that everybody understood people's problems, and we did a lot of singing, and I even got to ride a horse!

Thanks for visiting my web page!               Yum-Yum

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Joan Fleitas, R.N., Ed.D.
Associate Professor of Nursing,Lehman College, CUNY
Bronx, New York 104680

Last updated: November 14, 2004