Tag Archives: health

How I fell in Love With My Skin Again

For as long as I’ve lived-as long as I’ve been aware-I’ve had spots at the extremities of my body. I always tried to forget they were there but my mother would pull me back to a consciousness of them with her worry. We didn’t know any better.

As a child, in the early 00’s, being exposed to beauty parlours and hair salons, I got a basic description of beauty. It was about bone straight long hair (if not from your head, then extensions). It was about the things you wore (hello kitty and baby phat were all the rave in my childhood). Then it was skin, healthy, spotless skin. I didn’t have that. I have Papular Utricaria, but neither my mother nor I knew what it was at the time. All we knew was it left papules on my body that sometimes later dried to black spots and that it heightened after insect bites, after a change in environment or during the rainy season. But fuck it, I was in love with the rain as a child. I would go out and play in the rain only to come back in the evening scratching my skin out, because those papules were itchy. My mother’s friends would always say the same things, I would outgrow my spots.

Doctors said the same things. As a child, it was that i’d outgrow my spots. As a preteen, it became I would outgrow my spots… but here are some creams and tablets. I never cared, but I cared that my mother cared. So I tried to make some lifestyle changes. I wore leggings, which are now a staple in my wardrobe. I also used Dettol and antibacterials and mosquito repellents as she said I should, as the doctors prescribed. I used Dettol religiously, as though i could dight away the spots. It didn’t help that I was lazy, that up until 14 I only bathed once a day, that I was a weekend washer and scavenged the dirty cloth basket for a decent smelling t-shirt once in a while. But I really thought the Dettol was doing me good, Dettol and hot water.

I remember one time, when I was six and we still lived in my father’s 3 bedroom bungalow, and I shared a room with my siblings and aunty Mary. I closed my eyes before sleep, and I prayed “God please, if I wake up, let my spots disappear”. They obviously didn’t. I distanced myself from them until I couldn’t anymore, in junior secondary school. Back then, I was a fat girl with spotty dark skin and short relaxed hair. It was the perfect formula for a misanthrope. And that I was. I separated myself from fashion, make up, people. It didn’t help that my siblings called me names, or that my classmates called me names. Or that I was the only female I knew with an utricaria and I wasn’t sure what it was.

I never got the answers I needed until this year when I finally visited a dermatologist. I got to find out that its a common skin condition, very common. I also found out that with hypersensitivity of skin, Dettols and antibacterials only make the outward manifestations (papules and dark spots) worse. All I needed was a change of soap, advantan or an antihistamine and a mosquito net. Obviously, I would never wear a mini skirt in my life, but I skip that rule once in a while. I was relieved at the thought of saying goodbye to my spots but then I realised all the time gone into consciously thinking about not thinking about my spots. From praying them away at age six, to watching the way people stared at my legs at age 12 to seeing them fade away now.

I think about the money gone into creams and herbal medicine (I actually bathed with quail eggs once). I think of the time, the leggings!! And I cannot remember a time in those years, when I wasn’t conscious of myself and my looks despite my trying not to be. But who do I blame for that? The doctor? My mom? My classmates? My siblings? Who do I blame for the pictures I didn’t take? It would be easy to blame my mom, she was buying me leggings when she should’ve been taking me to the dermatologist. She was expressing her worry when she should’ve been giving an encouraging word. But I ultimately made the decision to let my skin rule my teenage years. Now, here I am on the brink of adulthood.

There are many teenage girls (and guys) with Papular Utricaria who because of the outward manifestations have lost their sense of self esteem. Your devil might not even be an Utricaria. It could be an infection, cleft lip, fat lips, gap tooth, flat nose, small nose, bad edges, bow legs, k legs, broken teeth, body odour, mouth odour, etc etc. And yes, there are measures we can take to work out these devils but I want to give an encouraging word where my mother did not. And that is, don’t let it rob you off years of beautiful experiences and memories.

I appreciate my aunty Akudo because she said something important to me.  She said its never about what you have, in my case an utricaria. She said, its about your confidence. When you walk with confidence, when you are confident in yourself, the last thing people will care about are the spots on your leg. She would always say, be yourself, free yourself, and be you. And that’s what I want everyone to take from this. Do not be anxious of the little things. Just be yourself. Be you.

Mindfulness

Mindfulness – A Lifestyle You Should Adopt

 Practising mindfulness brings you into the moment. It gives you control over your thoughts and makes you conscious of the world around you.  It doesn’t take much to be mindful it can be as easy as taking a deep breath, or listing the things you’re grateful for. Mindfulness helps you filter out negative thoughts and helps you to become more productive in your day-to-day activities.

Mindfulness works wonders, but how exactly does one go about it? Here are few tips on how to go about it:

  1. Have an in-depth meaning of Mindfulness: Mindfulness simply means observing and acknowledging your feelings, thoughts or sensations without dwelling on them. There are times people convince themselves to do something and begin to over think it, naturally, the mind makes up stories and ‘spin’ around them. When this happens you lose focus  and spending time worrying without getting anything done.When this happens, take a deep breath and focus on one thing at a time, this will enable your mind to settle and you will be able to get more things done than you would have ordinarily
  2. Observe it every day: The easiest way to incorporate mindfulness into your life is to find a way to connect to it on a daily basis. Simple things such as noticing the sensations in your body or your breath as you brush your teeth, drink water, or drive home from work, Having a daily routine  helps you stay mindful.
  3. Release your expectation: Mindfulness requires that you release all expectations and  you sincerely appreciate the moment as it is. Without worrying or over thinking thinking the situation.
  4. Begin now: Just start! Make up your mind today to  stay mindful. The beauty of mindfulness is you can practice it in multiple ways such as sitting, standing, lying down, walking or eating. And it can be done at any place or time.

Mindfulness can be an ideal tool to improve your personal and professional life—something that can cause a “positive ripple” effect across both areas and it will ultimately help you to be successful.

Give mindfulness a try this week!

 

 

 

Amanda

Meet Amanda, The Courageous 4 year old With The Brain Defect.

Amanda is a hydranencephaly (a central nervous disorder characterized by a large head and neurological deficits). I found out about Amanda’s condition after doing a scan seven months into the pregnancy. She had a brain surgery when she was 8 months old.

The doctors told us Amanda would die at 3 months but she is here and she will be 4 years on the 4th of July.

Amanda can not see, talk, sit by her self, nor do anything but she can hear and differentiate between light and darkness. She can also smile. Her condition has affected me emotionally, physically and mentally, in ways that I’m now spiritually strong and physically weak.

She cried continuously in my ears for more than two years, I have become accustomed to the sound of Amanda crying, to the extent that if I am seated somewhere quite, it feels like my head wants to explode. It was disturbing and I could hardly get any sleep. Nonetheless, I am proud of my little girl because she has been strong right from the first day; through the surgeries and the pains, she has endured it all.

Creating awareness about hydrocephalus isn’t easy because mothers with affected children usually hide their children. I believe through exposing pictures of her life journey on the Instagram and Facebook platform has helped so many mothers out there.

Hyperthyroidism

Are You Aware of the Beast Gradually Eating At the Women Folk? It is called Hyperthyroidism

Hyperthyroidism is a beast gradually eating the womenfolk. Whilst some women are ignorant of this disease, others are too scared to share their story.

This is my story.

I have been living with hyperthyroidism for close to two years now. For those who are not aware of what it means. It simply means my thyroid gland functions abnormally, secreting too much of hormone.

This over secretion has resulted in me having Goitre, what the Yorubas call ‘gege’ (I hate the Yoruba name for it between). Goitre is just one of the physical attributes of Hyperthyroidism, the internal effect is much worse.

Anytime I forget to take my drugs, I experience serious chest pain coupled with palpitation, muscle contraction, irregular menstrual flow, consistent stooling, loss of breath and some.

The goitre isn’t gone and I am usually embarrassed when people’s attention is drawn to it. I woke up this morning remembering how a client called my attention to it yesterday. I felt sad! She assumed I didn’t know and was asking me in front of a colleague if I was ‘taking care of my neck’. I am not one for pity party though.

I went to the hospital when I noticed I had a swollen neck and persistent chest pain. Ever since I have been doing series of tests.

Initially, I visited a government hospital until I realized government hospitals were time wasters. Every time I went to the hospital, I would return home feeling more depressed due to the ill-mannered way in which I was being treated by the doctors and nurse.

After wasting so much money and time, I travelled down to Lagos, to register for my NHIS and chose LASUTH, however, they are presently on strike.

There are Foundations who offer free medical surgery for Thyroid but I am not comfortable with my face shown all over different social media pages. I want my story to be told when I am most comfortable.

I am a very beautiful lady with a high level of self-confidence but ever since my journey with hyperthyroidism began, I have become the shadow of myself. I walk around my head bowed. I fear that when my head is raised, people will see my neck and pity me.

I have made a decision to go to the NHIS office located at Yaba, Lagos State soon to change to my hospital to a private hospital (I hope I’m allowed to do so).

I will advise all readers of this blog to go for Thyroid function test. It isn’t that common in men, like 1 man in 100 but 80 women in 100.

Hyperthyroidism doesn’t stop at having an operation to remove the organ. I will be faced with using drugs for the rest of life to manage it.

Women, please get tested today. Hyperthyroidism is no joke.

Written by J for diaryofanaijagirl.

sextuplets

Nigerian Couple Who Tried To Get Pregnant For 17 Years Welcomes Sextuplets

On May 11 Ajibola Taiwo gave birth to sextuplets. Three boys and three girls—by cesarean section at the Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU, United States. Taiwo was 30 weeks pregnant when she gave birth to her bundles of joy whose weight ranged from 1 pound, 10 ounces to 2 pounds, 15 ounces. While their mother was discharged on discharged her babies are still in the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit, but are doing well.

“I hope for the smallest of my six children to grow up and say,‘I was so small, and look at me now,’” said Taiwo, according to the hospital’s press release. “I want my kids [to] come back to VCU to study and learn to care for others with the same people who cared for me and my family.”

This is the first sextuplet delivery in VCU Medical Center’s history. My Prayer for Mothers Who Have Said Child Birth is Not That Painful

The hospital stressed that these types of deliveries are complicated and require a serious team effort in order to ensure a safe birth for both mother and babies.

“The team quickly assembled to begin prenatal management and delivery planning including pre-delivery drills and resuscitation exercises,” said Susan Lanni, M.D., medical director of labor and delivery and maternal-fetal specialist at VCU Medical Center.

“A typical labor and delivery shift includes one, perhaps two premature births, usually with time in between. We had to coordinate with our colleagues in the NICU for six premature babies to be delivered simultaneously.”

Hospital officials stress that Mrs. Taiwo and her husband Adeboye Taiwo worked hard with their doctors during her pregnancy.

“We’re going through this extraordinary journey together with the family,” said Ronald Ramus, M.D., director of the Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine at VCU Medical Center.

“It’s not every day that parents bring home sextuplets. Mrs. Taiwo was eating, sleeping and breathing for seven. A lot of the support and encouragement we gave her to make it as far as she did was important, and one of the biggest contributions we made as a team.”

Mr. Taiwo praised the VCU Medical Center for all of their help and professionalism.

“The medical team is excellent in medicine and hospitality,” he said. “We are far from home but the medical team is our family. That is what got us this far.”

Congrats to the Taiwo family!

Ben underwood

“I’m not blind, I just cant see with my eyes.”- The Amazing Ben Underwood

“I’m not blind, I just cant see with my eyes.”- The Amazing Ben Underwood

I lost my eyesight when I was 2 years old…my mum says she noticed my right eye had a glow, kind of like the glow of a cat’s eye when caught in headlights. The doctors said it was a tumor, and we began treatment but at a point, it boiled down to ‘save my eyes and lose me’ or ‘save my life and lose the eyes.’ My mum chose to have my eyes removed. When I woke up from the surgery she said I screamed, “Mom, I cant see anymore, I cant see!” And she responded, “Ben, you can see, you can see me with your hands. Smell me and you can see me with your nose. Hear me and you can see me with your ears

Growing up, my brothers helped me a lot. My brother Derius taught me how to look for the seems under my clothing and the heels on my socks, so I could put them on correctly. And my little brother Isaiah was my eyes whenever we went out. When we would go shopping my mum would let me roam around and feel everything. When she was ready to go, she would go to the counter and start snapping her fingers saying, “Okay Ben, lets go.” I learnt to use my ears to find her.

I started practising echolocation because of her. She would take me down the sidewalk and let me echo to see how far it could go. I practised on hearing my environment, and things around me. Pretty soon, I could hear a trash can on the floor and pretty much anything stationary. I play video games, climb trees, ride bikes, roller skate, pretty much anything by ear. I even taught myself Japanese. People think it’s the end of the world when you lose your sight, but I can do pretty much anything I want to.

There was a time a fifth grader thought it would be funny to sneak up on me and punch me in the face. I chased him, clicking until I got to him and socked him a good one…He didn’t reckon on me going after him, but I can hear parked cars, walls, you name it…I’ve learnt to perceive objects by making a steady stream of sounds with my tongue, listening for the echoes as they bounce back. I can gauge distances like that

People ask me if I’m lonely, but I’m not, because someone is always around or I’ve got my cellphone so I talk with my friends. The hardest thing for me though is rejection. I can always tell when someone rejects me in any way. The thing I’m most scared of is water, but if I had eyes, its what I’d like most to see

I tell people I’m not blind, I just cant see with my eyes. There’s a difference.”

Ben’s cancer was in check until 2007, when he developed a tumor in his sinus cavity. Intensive treatment failed to knock down the disease. He died in 2009

Narrative culled from benunderwood.com, ABC News, OWN

Body Image

Body Image:”I Compared Myself to Others and Became Focused on What I Saw in the Mirror” Nicola King

“My name is Nicola King, I’m 24 years old. When I was 16, I became obsessed with my weight (Body Image) and started counting calories which led me to become sick. Shortly after, I was diagnosed with anorexia (an obsessive desire to lose weight by refusing to eat)

Growing up, I always had a healthy appetite, but when I got to my teens, I started having mood and anger issues. I became more aware of my looks and began obsessing over my weight. I always wanted to be slimmer or a different shape or size. I compared myself to others and became focused on what I saw in the mirror. The illness slowly crept into my head. It started with chocolate, and then I kept cutting out food and calories until I wasn’t eating anything at all. Read: Building Our Kids’ Self Esteem. A Lesson From my Mama

I could refuse to eat for six weeks straight or even drink water because I was scared of adding weight. A few years ago, it got so bad that I had to be admitted into intensive care. The doctors told my parents to say goodbye to me because my organs were shutting down. My hair was falling out, my periods stopped and I was in constant agony.

At my worst, I weighed four stone (25 Kilograms), had a BMI of eight and I felt dead. Some how I survived, because the doctors sedated me and kept me tube fed. Six months after, I was discharged from the hospital. I channeled that negative obsession towards weight building and started going to the gym

Going to the gym has given me focus and something I can get up for in the morning. It’s my therapy and escape and it’s a liberating feeling to push your body to the extreme but in a positive and healthy way. Its been a very long road since then but for the first time, I am proud of myself

I never thought I would get to this point. I didn’t even think I would still be here. Its surreal to have come this far- its overwhelming. When I look at the photos from when I was ill, it hurts, but I feel like I have come so far. If it wasn’t for my family and bodybuilding, I don’t know if I would still be here.”.

5 Things People With HIV Want You To Know

Here are 5 things people with HIV want you to know. Despite huge steps forward in the treatment and the research for HIV cure, there are still many misconceptions around HIV. Hopefully, the below points will help you change these misconceptions and challenge stigma.

1. It doesn’t make you a bad person.

“People with HIV have come to signify danger. To mix in a risky metaphor, we’re seen as the viral terrorists walking among you, our virus primed to explode,” Gus Cairns (diagnosed with HIV in 1985) blogged on HuffPost UK.

“Untrue. We’re not bad people. Anyone can catch HIV in an unguarded moment, during a bad period in their lives or just through bad luck.”

2. You can still have a family.

In 2015 Andrew Pulsipher, from Phoenix, US, posted a photo of himself with his wife and three healthy children to dispel myths that having HIV means you can’t have children.

Pulsipher has been HIV positive since birth, having had the disease passed on from his parents. He and his wife had their three children through fertility treatment.

“Having a negative family can be the most positive thing in your life” he said.

“I know HIV has a negative stigma, but it doesn’t have to and I want to help change that. It is a treatable disease and you can live a normal life with it. I am proof of that.”

3. There’s a lot of shame involved with HIV.

Paul Thorn set up the radio show HIV Happy Hour to raise awareness of what it’s really like to live with the illness.

He told HuffPost UK learning to manage internalised shame is a huge challenge after diagnosis.

“I lived for many years feeling ashamed because I have HIV. It has prevented me from going for jobs that I wanted and seeking relationships with people who I found attractive because I thought they wouldn’t would want me,” he said.

“That kind of feeling can exist in the very core of you to the point that you can’t stand the sight of yourself in the mirror. It has taken me many years to realise that I am worth something and to start caring about myself, maybe even love myself a little.” Read: Don’t be afraid of your flaws, acknowledge them

4. You can still get tattoos.

There are no documented cases of HIV transmission due to tattooing, but due to common misconceptions around the illness many people do not realise this.

Rob Curtis previously told HuffPost UK of how he was turned away by a tattoo artist after telling the receptionist he was HIV positive.

“I was also really shocked that this would even be an issue. I had told the studio that I was HIV+ and taking anti-viral medication which means it’s not possible to infect someone else,” he said.

“The artist should have known this, so I felt really disappointed that she was letting her stigma get in the way of her art.”

5. Being diagnosed is a good thing.

Philip Christopher Baldwin was diagnosed with HIV in 2010 at the age of 24. He says being tested and receiving a positive diagnosis is better than living in ignorance.

“If you are HIV positive and do not know, your health could be compromised. Two-fifths of HIV positive people in the UK are diagnosed late,” he blogged on HuffPost UK.

“By testing negative you put an end to any doubts that you may have about your HIV status. Test positive and you can start treatment, thereby ensuring you remain healthy.”

Culled from HuffPost