Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins is opening up about her debilitating battle with sickle-cell disease.
In her new memoir A Sick Life — TLC ‘n Me: Stories from On and Off the Stage — excerpted exclusively in the new issue of PEOPLE — the R&B star reveals how the blood disorder has impacted her life an how her kids are helping her through.
“I have to worry about it every day of my life,” Watkins, 47, says of sickle-cell disease. “You can be in so much pain you get delirious.”
Watkins was 7 years old when she was diagnosed with sickle-cell disease, which causes red blood cells to stick to vessel walls, blocking blood flow and preventing oxygen from reaching tissues; the lack of oxygen can damage organs and cause pain so severe it requires hospitalization.
When she received the diagnosis, Watkins says she was told she wouldn’t live past 30, that she couldn’t have children and that she’d be disabled her entire life.
“I looked around. Who was he talking about? I was going to be a famous performer,” Watkins writes in the book, recalling her visit to the doctor. “He was clearly mistaken.”
Indeed, Watkins went on to launch one of the most …read more