This is the story of how a woman lived for years with sickle cell disease, a still little-understood illness.
Alexandria, VA (PRWEB) May 02, 2012
The pain struck when Judy was only four. Later, Judy noticed she was tired a lot – so tired that on some mornings she could not get up to go to school. However, Judy’s mother Janie was unsympathetic. In Janie’s eyes, Judy had to be punished for skipping school. It was not long before some townsfolk in the small Appalachian community began whispering about that “strange illness of little Judy Gray.”
The mysterious disorder remained so until Judy was 16, when a doctor diagnosed her with an ailment called sickle cell anemia. Nevertheless, the doctor would share the news only with Judy’s aunt, who said nothing to Judy about the diagnosis. Therefore, Judy’s frequent pain and fatigue would remain a mystery for most of her life.
In Living With Sickle Cell Disease: The Struggle to Survive, Judy Gray Johnson describes how she attended college, taught elementary school, endured a troubled marriage, raised a daughter alone, and even presided over a major teachers’ union while enduring severe periods of pain that usually required emergency room visits, blood transfusions, and copious dosages of painkillers such as morphine. All the while, exhaustion was her constant companion.
Along with veteran journalist Leroy Williams Jr., Judy wrote and self-published Living with Sickle Cell Disease: The Struggle to Survive to tell her story of living with a little-understood chronic illness. The memoir also recounts how she evolved from victim into a staunch advocate for herself and other “sicklers” in the face of an insensitive medical profession and ignorance of sickle cell disease among the public. Judy hopes the book will create greater awareness of sickle cell disease and reassure its sufferers that they too can rise above the challenges their bodies throw at them. Judy would be happy to serve as a resource for editors and journalists seeking perspectives on sickle cell disease and other chronic illnesses.
Living With Sickle Cell Disease: The Struggle to Survive is available in hard cover, paperback and e-book versions through http://www.lulu.com. Readers also may visit Judy’s website at http://www.judygrayjohnson.com.