TLC’s T-Boz Reveals She Fell Into a Coma After Breastfeeding Because of Her Sickle-Cell Disease

Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins is opening adult about her debilitating conflict with sickle-cell disease.

In her new memoir A Sick Life — TLC ‘n Me: Stories from On and Off a Stage — excerpted exclusively in a new emanate of PEOPLE — a RB star reveals how a blood commotion has impacted her life an how her kids are assisting her through.

“I have to worry about it each day of my life,” Watkins, 47, says of sickle-cell disease. “You can be in so many pain we get delirious.”

Watkins was 7 years aged when she was diagnosed with sickle-cell disease, that causes red blood cells to hang to vessel walls, restraint blood upsurge and preventing oxygen from reaching tissues; a miss of oxygen can repairs viscera and means pain so serious it requires hospitalization.

When she perceived a diagnosis, Watkins says she was told she wouldn’t live past 30, that she couldn’t have children and that she’d be infirm her whole life.

“I looked around. Who was he articulate about? we was going to be a famous performer,” Watkins writes in a book, recalling her revisit to a doctor. “He was clearly mistaken.”

TLC (Tionne ‘T-Boz’ Watkins, Lisa ‘Left Eye’ Lopes (1971-2002) and Rozonda ‘Chilli’ Thomas), cocktail group, circa 1995. (Photo by Tim Roney/Getty Images)

Indeed, Watkins went on to launch one of a many successful low-pitched acts of all time, combining TLC with Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes and Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas in 1991. She continued to onslaught with her sickle-cell disease, alighting in a sanatorium mixed times a year due to a illness. (In 1996, she found out what she indeed has is sickle-beta thalassemia with arthritis, a form of a illness that is mostly reduction severe.)

In 2000, Watkins valid her alloy wrong twice over: Not customarily did she live past 30 years old, though she also welcomed daughter Chase with then-husband Dedrick “Mack 10” Rolison. But her sickle-cell illness led to to harrowing post-birth complications.

  • For some-more on Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins, collect adult a new emanate of PEOPLE, on newsstands everywhere Friday.

“On a initial night, a nurses told me we indispensable to breastfeed her. It seemed like a right thing to do. And they make we feel so guilty if we don’t cocktail your t—–s out for a baby immediately,” Watkins writes in A Sick Life. “But sickle-cell patients need each dump of liquid they can get, and losing that many breast divert roughly stopped my heart. Eventually, my physique close down and we fell into a coma. we spent 3 days comatose in a ICU.”

Me and My B👀Kie Bo👀 @chaserolison #Forum #TheWeekend #x❤️O #SheHadMeOut #Tbeezy #Tboz #TLC #TlcArmy #DaughterTime #MommyDuties

A post common by T-Boz (@therealtboz) on Apr 30, 2017 during 11:02am PDT

Over a years, Watkins faced a array of tragedies: a 2002 automobile crash that killed her crony and bandmate Lopes, divorce from Rolison in 2004, and a mind growth in 2006 that she battled successfully. The thespian says her illness flares adult when she gets emotional.

“Often, it’s tough to breathe or walk,” she writes of her illness in her memoir. “Some days we arise adult consumed by pain. It’s like knives stabbing me over and over again in my joints. Chase gave me a reason to keep pulling through.”

And in May 2016, Watkins perceived something else to live for: a son, Chance, whom she adopted from her hometown of Des Moines, Iowa. And a thespian says her stretched family keeps her strong.

#internationalwomensday This is My Heart! Looking Back On this Special Day My Lil Big Man incited 1 years old! It’s NOT his Bday Today lol Babies are so Pure! At this Stage …They Always Kiss with Their Mouth Open 1st! Lol Now He knows how to contend mmmmmmmmmuahhhh with his lips closed!!!! No some-more Slobber Bobber He Still Gives Me The Biggest Kisses Only When he feels like it! Other than that it’s customarily like Mommy stop kissing me lol #TLC #TBeezy #Tlcarmy #TBoz #AMothersLove

A post common by T-Boz (@therealtboz) on Mar 8, 2017 during 1:01pm PST

“You don’t wish your kids to know we consider we competence die. we don’t wish my daughter or son to feel my pain,” she says. “I’ve got to keep a normal face on.”

Watkins, in her memoir, adds: “My life, my ill life has been kaleidoscopic with illness. But we exclude to be tangible by it.”


A Sick Life, written with Emily Zemler, is out now.