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Nairaland / General / Re: Sebi Otimo,the Popular Sapon Beans Seller Begs For Help At 88 Years by fam24(f): 12:48pm On Aug 23, 2019

What a beautiful SOUL... reading through your diary, especially the good side of scd makes me see you more special, keep fighting you are a survival.

Thank you
Nairaland / General / Re: Sebi Otimo,the Popular Sapon Beans Seller Begs For Help At 88 Years by fam24(f): 7:14am On Aug 10, 2019
I doubt the authenticity of the story .
See another version of the story here http://omoodua.com.ng/archive/elewa_sapon_story.php

Confirm from BBC https://www.bbc.com/yoruba/afrika-46423374
Nairaland / General / Re: Life As It Goes by fam24(f): 9:01am On Jun 14, 2019

Morning, sorry for not responding asap, I traveled out of location.
I didn't get the soft copy, I bought the book.
Hope you are doing great? Have a wonderful day and work safe, regards.

Good morning. I've read the book - Dazzling mirage. I bought it on Okadabooks. It's a really interesting read though it seems rush to me. I love the way it ended. A dazzling mirage becoming a dazzling reality. In reality, the challenges continues and the fight for life never ends. Thanks for mentioning it which encouraged me to search to read it.

How are you doing sir?
Nairaland / General / Re: Life As It Goes by fam24(f): 1:42am On May 03, 2019

For every moment of crisis comes with its own sadness. The feeling of being left behind, like the world is passing by and you are left behind in a stagnant bus just to watch and observe. Then comes the period after recovery where you have to catch up with the rest of the world, at this point, you have to be on a fast speed if you want to cover up on what you have missed. Sometimes you have a chance to meet up, and other times you just have to let go because what you have missed is gone forever and no means of catching up with it. The sadness and sometimes depression that comes with it is what most if not all warriors have experienced at one point of their lives or the other.

I experienced a different level of depression, one I hope not to go through ever again. 2018 was that year of death and resurrection in my life. Just like any other year, started on a good note, and like everyone else, I was wished a happy new year. But before the end of the first quarter, I just knew it wasn't the year of me. So many things have happened.

One of the highlights of it was when school exam was to hold with no health facility in place. The health center was shut due to non-academic staff on strike. I felt I would cope, at least the teaching hospital wasn't far away. The reality hit me after an episode of a moderate crisis and I was discharged from THC only to have to track to enter campus as the roads were blocked due to the protest on ground. I relapsed into crisis that same night and had to manage it on my mind. Thank God I had my morphine bottle to suppress the pain. Throughout exam period, I was dosing on morphine to keep the pain in check. I couldn't even afford to leave campus to access health care facility as the fear of trekking back or missing exam with no medical report to cover it kept me going. Immediately after my last paper, the crisis came in full force and I was able to attend to it and was admitted and properly treated. Everyone thought I had stressed myself for the exam, not knowing I was dozing on morphine throughout.

When result was released, it wasn't far from what I expected. I was just happy I passed enough not to be asked to withdraw from the faculty. I was ready to resume and pick the race again but life has another surprise for me, I resumed only to be greeted with the news of the lost of a co-warrior in the faculty. He inspired me to fight, not to give up but he was gone. I felt empty. He passed despite all odds but he lost to death. I cried so much at a point I didn't even know why I was crying. I sometimes wished I was in his place, and at another time I felt it could have been me and I was weeping for my family. A lot was going through my mind, but I had to carry a bold face.

In about a week, I heard the news of another warrior who had an accident and was gone. In about a month, I have heard the death of 4 warriors under different circumstances. Even though we weren't so close, I was still hit badly by the news.

On June 19 (world sickle cell day), I realized I have lost half of the will to fight. With the programs lined up for the day that I had planned to attend, after dressing up, I had to sleep back and cover myself. I realized I had lost my voice to even campaign on sickle cell. I had no message to pass on. I knew I would broke down if I was to step out to say anything that day. One thing I didn't realize was that I was already battling depression. I was emotionally down so it didn't take long for me to be physically down.

July 2018, on one of my crisis episode, I got the news of being diagnosed of AVN. I felt my life was officially over. I know what AVN is capable, I have watched people from afar go through, I have seen people spent their last penny on it and even seek public donation in managing and treating it. I knew that wasn't the life I ever wished for. I was asked to rest the leg for 6 weeks which later turned to 10 weeks.

Those 6 weeks were the longest period in my life. I was depressed. I had suicidal thoughts going through my mind. I didn't find a reason to hold on to life. I felt life was terrible enough and I didn't want to wait to experience the worse of it. Days I had tests, I went out and smile to the world but I was dying within. I was drowning. I was struggling to stay afloat.

In between, my birthday came, and it was the first birthday I personally made plans for. I marked it with friends, but to me, I was doing my send forth from the world. I felt like I was going to leave and die soon. I was planning the easiest way to go.

Don't ask where my friends were, I had friends. I had families. They did what they could do. They were there for me, but no one had an idea of what I was going through in my head. They made it a routine to check up on me daily even when they had no hint it was that bad. They made my room their room, and made me smile but those smiles never took away the inner pain I was battling with. I didn't open up to anyone. The only time I broke down in the presence of anyone was when I was asked by someone how I was holding up. She saw through the facade I was masking behind, I broke down and cried, she consoled me. But even the tears couldn't heal my wound. I realized I had bottled too much in.

I woke up everyday thinking of the easiest possible way to leave with no one suspecting it was suicide. I felt gulping my morphine bottle would do as there would be no naloxone to bring me back. I thought of the best anticoagulant to use before making a cut. I had a thought of a hundred ways. On a day I saw my hippo bottle on my shelf (unusual place to find it), I felt it's a message for me to drink it. On a particular day, I left about half of the WhatsApp groups I was on, it was like I wanted to leave gradually. The only thing that stopped me was the face of my mom that kept hurting me. I couldn't do that to her, I could not allow the world to mock her because of me. Even those who know not what she had been through would felt they were wise and mock and abuse her, I couldn't do that to her.

I thought of what would be said to me if I should go through with it, but at that point, I didn't really care. Some would said it was because of heart break, like a lady has nothing else to think about. Some could say it was due to academic failure, and how it's not worth it. Some would say it was due to her health status, but only few would see that it was depression bottled in for so long, and every and any other event would have just been a trigger. I really did not care about what would be said of me, but I care so much about my mom. She's everything to me.

Suicide and Selfish?
Was I selfish to have had suicidal thoughts? Did I think death was the way out? The question is was I even thinking? Yes, I was, maybe not too rational. My suicidal thoughts stemmed from been selfless. I felt death was the ultimate of us all, then why wait until all is invested before going through it. I felt the earlier, the better as fewer people would be affected by the news. I felt my family would be better and invest their resources into something else instead of managing sickle cell that could throw another surprises, but I realized if every other person moved on, my mom may never. The news might kill her, I couldn't do that to her.

Suicide and Coward?
You might think suicide victims are cowards, smile. It was at this point I realized it takes another level of courage to go through with suicide. To face death without blinking, it's another level of bravery. I didn't have that courage, and that cowardy was what kept me alive.

How did I get out of it?
Same way I didn't get deeply into it in a day, I didn't get out in a day too, but it took a minute for me to snap out of it. I was on a bike when I realized that maybe my purpose in life wasn't what I thought it was, maybe my purpose was just to pass through life with all the struggles and just inspire others with it. That was the turning point back for me.
A lot of other things happened, other warriors died but I was on my way to recovery. I am still a work in progress.

When 2019 came, the only new year resolution I had was to stop being strong. I want to be weak and vulnerable. I realized I was trying to be strong so much that I lost myself and my ability to speak out when I needed help. I am not a super being, I am just human.

My appreciation goes to all my friends and family. You mean a lot to me. I am sorry I didn't open up.


*© FAM*

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Nairaland / General / Re: Life As It Goes by fam24(f): 1:40am On May 03, 2019

Morning, sorry for not responding asap, I traveled out of location.
I didn't get the soft copy, I bought the book.
Hope you are doing great? Have a wonderful day and work safe, regards.

Okay. I will try and get it too. Thank you.
Nairaland / General / Re: Life As It Goes by fam24(f): 6:45pm On Apr 30, 2019

Well-done e-friend, just want to ask... In my quest to know more about the fight of a survival, I read a book called " DAZZLING MIRAGE" , have you been opportune to read the book too?

No, I have not read it. I heard about the movie by Tunde Kelani, but I have not been opportuned to see it as well. Do you have the book, if it's soft copy?
Nairaland / General / Re: Life As It Goes by fam24(f): 7:33pm On Apr 25, 2019
I have come to realize that the first person who stigmatize you is you, and the best person to stop the stigmatization is also you. Sometimes, it's not about what they say or do, but how you perceive it. It's all about your own perception.

Stigmatization happens when you are seen as inferior or less because of a particular attribute that's seen as a disadvantage, in my own case, it's sickle cell. Is sickle cell really a disadvantage? Yes, it is, but to what extent? People who stigmatize close their eyes on the other attributes embedded in the other person, and focus on that single features that's to the disadvantage, they are blind to every other things no matter how amazing those ones are. This made me realize that it's not just about the disadvantageous feature, but about how shallow they are and they have decided to remain.

Nobody completely overcome stigmatization, but what matters is how it's handled. I have come to learn how to handle stigmatization so well for a greater good that most times I don't even see that I'm being stigmatized.

The first way I have come to handle stigmatization is to build my self-esteem and confidence. I am so confident about who I am that what anyone feels or say doesn't change that. I understand the values I carry that I don't see myself as a left over that can be taken for granted or stepped on.

Also, accepting and understanding who I am. I have come to accept who I am, and the fact that it's not changing anytime soon. I'm a sickle cell patient, and so what? It is who I am, but it has not in anyway define me or limit who I will become. I've come to understand that it is who I am whether I accept it or not. Not accepting it will only make it hurt when I'm tagged with it, and in a way it shows I'm ashamed of who I am. So it's easier for others to get to me using it.

There were days I used to deny. Ask if I was SS, and my response would be No, I wasn't directly lying as I am SC and not SS, even though I knew what you were asking but I wasn't obliged to give a detailed answer.

I have also come to realize that to perfectly handle stigmatization, I need to understand the situations and factors of stigmatization. I need to understand the words used, the concept in which they are used and redefine them. One of such words is the word 'sickler'. A lot of warriors still find the word offensive but it doesn't change the fact that it's still a word that would be used to characterize us. I came to understand that the word sickler didn't come from the word sick, as most people think, it's from the word 'sickle', which characterize the shape of our red blood cells. So as long as the sickled RBCs still flow in my veins, call me sickler, you are only stating the obvious.
Another of such words is Ogbanje, some use it in an insultive way to characterize warriors, but it actually means a supernatural/metaphysical being with a supernatural power to do good or evil. This only shows you have reference me far above what I am. It turns into a compliment that you think I possess a supernatural power. �
Another word is the use of death to categorize and stigmatize Sickle cell. I see this one as a sign of ignorance and dumbness, because if not, why will someone who knows that (s)he will die and knows not how, when and where, see death as a stigmatization factor. Death is the only unifying factor in all living things, not just humans. These set of people are the easiest to deal with, as all that is needed is to show their ignorance to their face and educate them in any possible way.

Considering that stigmatization can come from different form, I was once asked during an anonymous interview about how I handle stigmatization in relationship, and my response was that I have never encountered one. The interviewer was surprised until I had to explain. For me, I think when a person abandon a relationship simply because the partner is a sickle cell warrior, it speaks volume about the kind of person they are and the kind of partner they would be. I really don't consider such as stigmatization, they've only passed a message that they aren't strong enough to be with a warrior. I personally need a super warrior who will fight with me, for me and behind me, not a weakling who will bail out when sickle cell or life throws its surprises. People go in and out of relationship frequently irrespective of genotype, so I try not to attach more to it than usual. I know my values so it's a privilege for anyone to be on board.

Stigmatization in workplace is also another issue, which can be in form of rejection. This can be handled by the awareness of the values we carry and knowing our capacity and peculiarities of the services we can render. Even when people reject our offers, it's their lost, not ours. So no need to take it to heart.

Another way to handle stigmatization is to accept where you are. This comes with a kind of inner peace which is not easily uprooted by the shades thrown from outside. This is because most times stigmatization hit more based on our own perseption of ourselves.

It's not really about what they say or do, but how we perceive it.

I won't say I have gotten over stigmatization, but I can at least say I am a work in progress and I am handling it well.

As warriors, we need to understand that stigmatization is a tool used by people to feel better about themselves, we shouldn't give them that satisfaction. We are more than our sickled cells.

The best way to overcome stigmatization is to face it and not shy away from it. Coming out is a step in overcoming stigmatization.

*© FAM*
Nairaland / General / Re: Life As It Goes by fam24(f): 7:15am On Apr 23, 2019

I like reading your diary. I think you're a warrior, a fighter, a good sport and a cheer leader all in one. Keep going from strength to strength

Thank you.
Nairaland / General / Re: Life As It Goes by fam24(f): 12:42pm On Apr 21, 2019

What a beautiful day for me and my family, we long wait for this day and it's seems truly long but @the end it's worth it.
Please kindly check back when you post a message like that, it will be well appreciated... We/ People care.

I will. Thanks so much. My regards to your family.
Nairaland / General / Re: Life As It Goes by fam24(f): 10:46pm On Apr 20, 2019
'You don't know your limit.' 'You've crossed your boundaries again.'
These and others like it are some of the statements that repel my hearing. Don't you think you are also crossing your limit by saying those words? I know you care, and just concern about me, but who sets those limits? Who defines those limitation? Are they for me to stay safe and be protected? To what extent?

I can say most of the decisions I have made in my life that has helped me are those ones that were said to be out of limits. From my choice to attend a boarding secondary School, even though I didn't spend more than a year there, it sharpened my horizon of life. When I made my choice known, a lot of mouth were quick to advise against it on how I was too young and fragile, like I was an egg that mustn't crack. For every crisis that occurred that year, someone was quick to judge my mom on how she made me overstepped my boundaries. Nobody considered what that child wanted and how happy those little things that were said to be off limits made the child.

My choice of discipline was another fight I had to win against limit. I was told how science class would be too stressful for me. How I was good in Maths and should go for accounting and how I can talk and argue, and law would be best for me.

My choice of institution was another challenge, then the course of study was like I was on a suicide mission to some. To others, it was like I just hate myself and the stress would be too much to bear. No one care much about what the girl want and what keeps her alive but just want her to live.

Then, I was told to concentrate on my studies and leave out distractions, not to cross my limits. No one bother to know if those distractions that were off limits are what keeps me sane in an insane world. If those are what brings fulfillment in a world threatening with sorrow and unhappiness.

The next time crisis comes knocking, there is someone waiting to throw it at my face on how I have crossed the limit again, but forget to tell of how crisis could crept in even in the sleep, or should we say sleeping is also off limits.

Whenever life throws its challenges and I have to move two steps backwards just so as to move a step forward, there's someone waiting to attribute it to my inability to stay within limits, but they forget to tell of how life is made of trough and crest and is meant to be a wave not a straight line.

Everyone has one or more advise to dish out on how I should live my life, on how I should live within the limit, like a bird caged in a cell, forgetting that even a bird deserves its freedom. If that line isn't crossed, you would never know if it's truly off limit.

Every experience comes with its lesson, for every of the limit I have crossed, I have learnt from it. Cage not that warrior child for those experiences make us stronger. It makes us who we are, survivors.

Limitation is of the mind. Sickle cell can't cage us in its cell, don't help it do that.

N.B.: I rarely regret what I do, what I regret are those things I fail to do, the opportunity cost, the forgone experience I could have had.

*© FAM*
Nairaland / General / Re: Life As It Goes by fam24(f): 10:38pm On Apr 20, 2019

How do I describe how I miss not hearing from you when I needed it most, how do I tell you the pains I have without your response when I wanted it more... I 've grown to love your personality more and more each day, reading through your post, I'm not blaming you for not responding, because I see you fighting the battle you did not create "SURVIVAL BATTLE ", but my pain lies on your last post and when I check the time and hour you send that post, it's sounds even more dreadful, please say something to a friend... He is missing your personality.

Good evening sir. I am sorry I kept you in the dark and worried, I never meant to. I'm fine, very fine. The last post was made in a minute of fear and it was all gone in the morning. I totally forgot about it. I resumed back to school last Saturday, so I was kind of busy, reason why I didn't show up here. Thanks so much for your concern. I really do appreciate it. God bless you.
Nairaland / General / Re: Life As It Goes by fam24(f): 11:59pm On Apr 12, 2019
Dear Future Warriors,

How are you?
You must be wondering why you are born into a life of pain, of crisis, of complications, you must have asked why. I will like you to know that you are strong enough to withstand it. Blame not God, but ask your parents why.
Some of us have been into it before you. We did our best to eradicate it so that you won't have to go through what we are going through, but your parents (or fate) decided otherwise. Some were blinded by love, some enshackled by faith, some failed by laboratory results. Some claimed ignorance. But in all of these, know that you will survive, just like some of us are. I want to tell you not to focus on the why, because that's no longer important, the deed has been done, but focus on the purpose why you are here, there is a greater reason for that. You must ensure to discover your purpose and live by it. Don't stop fighting because that's what you're born to do. In fighting, some won and live with it, some lose and become heroes. I hope you win, but in case if it turns out the other way, I hope you find rest. I hope you become a star to shine over the other warriors still fighting. I hope you become an angel to guide over them. And I hope you become a martyr.
While you are alive, live, love, laugh and persevere. Make a difference, make impact and set a pace and a path for others. Find a reason and a purpose to life.
You have got sickled cells flowing in your veins, sickle cell doesn't have you. Don't allow sickle cell to cage you in its cell. You are more than a conqueror. Explore your body when you are healthy and manage it when you are not.
You have a strong spirit in a not so strong body, but you need that body to do your exploits, hence pay attention to it, manage it well and take good care of it.
I hope the sickle cycle ends in your generation. I hope science find a cure to it, a *safe* cure that could be *available* and *affordable* to all.
But if not, don't be sad, don't be mad. Enlighten the world, educate them and create awareness. Do your part.
Be the light through which other warriors can see through.

Stay safe warrior. Don't forget you are a survivor, you will sure survive all that life throws at you. Don't you ever give up. I love you.

From a co-warrior,


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Nairaland / General / Re: Life As It Goes by fam24(f): 2:10pm On Apr 02, 2019
How can one be so knowledgeable and still be so naive?
How can one be so educated and still be so ignorant?
How can one be so full of wisdom and still be dumb?

The table is one too big for me to shake, because some of those on it are professionals in their field, but I just have to shake it and even break it so that they might get down and let's destroy the table together.

The table is about the myths with sickle cell. As a person, I have listened and heard so many myths from different people of different calibre from different directions that I don't even know how to tackle it or where to start from. It's pardonable when some of these myths are coming from the lower class of the society, those called illiterate, but when it's coming from the society high class, from the University community, then it becomes highly offensive. From the university undergraduate student, to the administrative/non-academic staff, to even the big lecturers with the PhD in their portfolios, the level of ignorance is sickening. But then it's still pardonable when you don't know but willing to know, we can't all know it all, but it becomes a capital offense when you pride yourself in your ignorance and rub it on others.

I have had different encounters with these people that made it seems we can't break the sickle cycle any time soon. That's because with no right information in circulation, we will only be moving in a circle with no way out.
From the undergraduate whose only knowledge about SCD was that it's the rich that gives birth to them, to a roommate that felt all she needed to know on genotyping was that she's prone to malaria, hence she's AA and good to go, (isn't that still funny in this age), to that lecturer with a PhD in science oriented course (white house) who used derogatory words for a friend, saying it's a pity she's brilliant but people like her don't go to school because they won't cope and it's a waste of parents' funds, making reference to death et al, or should I mention the one who thought once a warrior crosses a certain age (early twenties), then it's all smooth and fine, implying we could wait till then before taking up strenous activities like coming to the university.

In between all the different scenarios I have experienced or heard of, let me just share one or two in details.

One happened on one of my occasional admission at the university health center, a random conversation about having sickle cell offsprings came up, and we have our oversabi woman (an 'educated' administrative staff) who thought and communicated it out that sickle cell offspring can only occur in the fourth pregnancy. The problem isn't in her thoughts, but the level of confidence she used to communicate it. She went to the extent of telling us that if it happened before the fourth child, the woman must have had some abortions/miscarriages in the past. (I fainted and woke up) That was like one of the most unhilarious myth I have had to listen to. Her argument was top notch that nothing anyone else said was able to convince her. Even giving her real life scenarios couldn't as she believed you don't know what those women (mothers of warriors) had done in the past. Quite unbelievable right? Imagine such woman having a sister in law or daughter in law who have a warrior as a first or second child. Obviously she had gotten the simple Genetic cross matching taught in biology twisted. She failed to realize that the cross matching is the occurrence in every pregnancy and doesn't follow such pattern.
I couldn't even partake in the conversation that day because I couldn't afford to waste my 1ml of opioid which was to relieve me from my pain in a fruitless argument with her. Her voice was at its peak and highly confidence in ignorance.

Funny how these are the same set of people the less educated in the community will reach out to when they need information on issues like this, hoping to get the right information from them. How unfortunate! Some of these people are one of the most educated in their lineage/family and issues as these would be refer to them and they would most likely have the final say. How then can we stop stigmatization, discrimination and even break the sickle cycle when they themselves don't know, and they do not know that they don't know.

It's not a crime not to know, but it's advisable to just keep quiet and learn instead of priding in ignorance and confusing the populace.

Nairaland / General / Re: Life As It Goes by fam24(f): 2:44pm On Mar 22, 2019

'As a sickle cell patient, are you not afraid of death?' That was the question someone asked me about five years ago. My response: What is the assurance that you won't die before tomorrow?Anyone can die, AA, AS AC, SC, SS etc. Why should I be afraid of death? That was my response then. If I was to be asked that same question now, my response will still be the same, maybe in a more polite way. Everyone will die, when, where and how we don't know. Someone with AA could fall on a staircase and died, same way I could. He could survive and just rest and use self- medication, not knowing there is a major fracture. He keeps treating the pain until it becomes worst, thereby leading to his death. I could have the same fall, and decide to go to the clinic to prevent a major crisis, I got treated and I'm fine, I survived OR I could go to my room to rest, use some medications, observed for some hours, go to the clinic, get treated, I survived. OR The fall leads to crisis, force me to see a physician, the crisis and its cause (the fracture) get treated, I stayed in the hospital for a while. I got better, I survived. Health is a priority in every human, and in sickle cell patients, it is a major priority. Our body has been designed in a way that it doesn't allow us to take our health for granted. Any malfunction, it cries out quickly. The necessary treatment is given. For me, death is a constant irrespective of your financial status, health status, etc. There is no disease that is a death sentence, so far it's being manage well, not HIV, not diabetes, not cancer, not sickle cell.
Note: Never die a useless death. A useless death is a death that can be prevented. Take the necessary precautions. Maintain a healthy lifestyle. Everyone is unique in their own way. Never compare yourself to others.

My fear isn't death, my fear is not living.

Initially written on 28/02/2017


*© FAM*

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