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Apologies My Dear Melanin Umbrella.

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By Belema Omuso Abbey.
I need to say I am sorry dear melanin. Can you ever forgive me? Can I ever undo this wrong? Is there a way I can make this better? How come I was never told I despised you with my actions. I was unknowingly telling you to get lost, literally!!! How come my brain never actually registered the counselling and all the caution I heard? Repeatedly heard.
A deep groan escaped Fabby’s lips as she clutched at her head, sobbing quietly. Then, she pressed send, delivering her message. She got up from the toilet seat and stood in front of the bathroom mirror. She looked at her once “glowing, very fair” skin, scattered in patches of red, black and yellow discoloration. Her skin was shriveled, she could see very tiny and large blue-green veins literally making a map all over her skin. It is a map indeed.
Her doctor says it shows the way the superficial blood vessels course through her body. Her left arm had a long scar, a lasting memory of the surgery she had 4 weeks earlier. The wound took 4 weeks to heal. Dr Regina said it was because her skin has lost all its protective, healing and regenerative functions. Fabby listened as her husband opened the door for the team comprising of doctors and nurses. Her husband called out to her, she is needed he said.
You see, she begins chemotherapy today for melanoma, a skin cancer. That was the outcome of the surgery on her left arm. Melanin stood rigidly against Dr Tan’s consulting room walls. Fabby’s message overwhelmed him as her words echoed all around him. He remembered reading Dr Regina’s notes a few months ago. “Mrs Fabby Dema, a 38 year old female, manager at a bank, who presented with an ulcer on the left arm. She was said to have previously developed an itchy black spot (before the ulcer started) that bled occasionally. She had been using over the counter whitening creams and soaps for 10 years, including a whitening cream following which she would pluck and pull out her skin after a few hours, revealing supposedly new skin. She is married, has just gotten to the peak of her career, her 3 kids are in secondary school. She does not smoke nor take alcohol.”
An angry loud thump drew melanin’s attention back to Dr Tan’s consulting room. It was the angry female patient. She is quite furious because Dr Tan is insisting that she has developed an addiction to steroid creams as she refused to stop applying them 5 months ago. He had prescribed it for an acute flare of her eczema but was surprised to see her much lighter in complexion during the clinic visit. She explained that the steroid cream made her skin fairer and more beautiful. She stomped out of the consulting room as the young dermatologist refused to prescribe some more for her. Melanin pitied Dr Tan. He had particularly had a bad day at the dermatology clinic.
He reminisced about his previous patients. He wondered whether he was complicit in 45 year old Mrs Owuna’s addiction to hydroquinone. He had prepped her skin for a chemical peel with 2% hydroquinone after counselling her on the benefits of the controlled procedure. Following sessions of chemical peels with glycolic acid, he withdrew hydroquinone, placing her on sunscreen.
Despite pre procedure counselling, Mrs A has refused to go off hydroquinone. Today, she informed Dr Tan that her 23 year old daughter’s skin is doing very well with a hydroquinone cream. Dr Tan felt some warmth on his shoulders as Melanin wrapped his arm around him. “No” Melanin said, the patient chose to continue the use of hydroquinone, you did not. He thought of Ms A. Ms A’s ebony skinned friend had accompanied her to her follow up clinic visit today. She needed to consult Dr Tan for a cream that could get her fair. Her group of friends had all started using naturally mixed soap and cream that made their skin luminous. She was rightly worried about the contents of those products, so she came to consult Dr Tan for safer options.
Melanin then screamed through the doctor. “Do not be tempted madam”. Do you know what the different shades of “black” you see on different skin do for us? It protects us from the damaging effects of the ultraviolet rays of the sun. It actually forms an umbrella shield around our skin’s DNA preventing damage and leading to skin cancer. It helps us not to photo age as fast as the white race. Ever heard of the phrase “black don’t crack”?
Bleaching agents with toxic contents like mercury and hydroquinone can give you kidney failure, steroids can cause growth retardation in children and cause a disease called Cushing’s disease. In the long run, when compared to your peers, your skin will look older, is prone to rashes, prone to skin infections, looks more wrinkled, does not heal properly and looks transparent. “I am Melanin, I live in your skin, I protect you, please do not hurt me” the doctor heard himself plead loudly. Those words sliced through Fabby as she dropped the cup of cream. 

 

You see, she is now in remission, her skin cancer treatment had resulted in a very good prognosis. Fabby was about applying whitening/bleaching cream because she noticed her ankles and knuckles look really dark she needed to even up the complexion one more time. Just one more week of use she thought, then I am done with toning my skin forever. So she planned, until melanin replied her long forgotten message.

Belema Omuso Abbey is a consultant dermatologist and physician of the West African College of Physicians. She trained at the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital and The University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital Ituku-Ozalla, Enugu state. She is presently into private practise. She loves to dance, read and allow her imaginations run wild.
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14 Comments

14 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Philomina ONUWAJE

    November 24, 2018 at 11:38 am

    Wow, great write up by my beautiful chief

    • Avatar

      Ovundah

      November 24, 2018 at 8:41 pm

      Thank you so much for the feedback

  2. Avatar

    Bridget Webilor

    November 25, 2018 at 11:05 am

    Interesting piece.

    • Avatar

      Ovundah

      November 25, 2018 at 6:01 pm

      Thank you so much for the feedback

  3. Avatar

    Bridget Webilor

    November 25, 2018 at 1:01 pm

    Interesting read.

    • Avatar

      Ovundah

      November 25, 2018 at 6:01 pm

      Thank you so much for the feedback

  4. Avatar

    Nk

    November 25, 2018 at 2:05 pm

    Nice piece! This message has to be shared to educate many.

    • Avatar

      Ovundah

      November 25, 2018 at 6:01 pm

      Thank you so much for the feedback, please do share this message.

  5. Avatar

    Ezeobi Obinna

    November 27, 2018 at 5:54 am

    Quite a piece. Thanks to the writer and editor.

    • Avatar

      Ovundah

      November 28, 2018 at 1:55 am

      Thank you so much for your feedback sir…

  6. Avatar

    Kattey.Kay

    November 27, 2018 at 6:58 pm

    I pray we will hear word. The effects of toning (or whatever it is called these days) are serious oh.

    • Avatar

      Ovundah

      November 28, 2018 at 1:59 am

      Thank you so much for your feedback.

  7. Avatar

    Hilda

    November 29, 2018 at 2:07 pm

    Beautiful piece. I enjoyed reading it. Hoping it will get to the right audience.

    • Avatar

      Ovundah

      December 1, 2018 at 3:11 am

      Thank you so much for the feedback.

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Family Circle

How Expensive are Expensive Weddings?

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By Edisemi Okpokiti

The cost for marriages is another reason for low marriages and also early broken marriages…it brings too much pressure to the equation.
Too much expectations, too much injuries in the process to accomplish, too much division already between new families who ought to be uniting, too much attention of the supposed spouse on an event than on the marriage.

Too much false hood expressed that has to be sustained, but with no basis for maintenance. Too much bad blood between supposed couples before they even start their home.

Many marriages ended on the night or morning after the wedding ceremony.

People regret night after their traditional wedding, and ask if it was worth all the tension, pressure and troubles or are visibly sad all through the wedding realising they have short changed themselves.

Love is stifled by fleshy lust of men and women for rights,privileges and inordinate desires to feel among. Many work for years to blow it one week 😭😭

Once the cost of the price to marry is reduced, the attention will be shifted to what my choice person thinks or feels and not what people think or feel; and that’s how relationships are built.

Preparation for marriage ought to be a good opportunity for people to know and get more acquainted with themselves but the pressure makes them distant from themselves, cursing, fighting and bitter at each other for their difference in priority and the family effect on them.

Father in-laws, mother in-laws , Siblings already become vouched enemies even before they know themselves.

It’s pathetic that poor families are the most expensive ones to marry from, it’s like these marriages is their visa out of poverty.

Elders have become children in their conduct and character just because of a young child’s money collected with the deceit of a priceless adventure.

Churches should adopt like the Orthodox churches now do for burials, giving specific date you must bury after death, thereby forcing hands to bury with what they have and not what they think they want.

Weddings in churches should be encouraged to be done even in midweeks and without receptions.

Young people also should stop talking of dream marriages. The women especially would shout “It is not in my turn, I’ll fall my hands”, but can’t you all see ,the men are not proposing because they are afraid and do not have what your entire village will demand? Ladies have to start discussing with their fathers and uncles and defend their husband to be.

Money spent on Marriages in this country, especially by the middle class and poor if invested could make those couples financially stable.

The steam most times is off before the team comes to field.

Many have lost even before the game starts.

Well for those who are really really well to do and I mean both not that the man is. Those whose families have more than enough to spare, then you are not stopped from your ecstasy.

If you are in relationship, and it’s not taking the next step this is a major cause. Seat with yourselves, seat with your parents and pastors and achieve your desire without destroying your desire. SELAH!

If you are a sibling or parent , please assist and clear all barriers and ensure your children and siblings don’t have this as a barrier preventing their marriage.

The age of unmarried is increasing daily to an average of 30…if this menace is not addressed …we will soon hit 35 yrs as average age of unmarried girls.

Let the wise hear, but the foolish rant…Life is a choice.

A counsel is not forced on anyone.

Edisemi Okpokiti is the Lead Faculty, The Pulpit and Lead Consultant of Rhabonni Consult Limited (A Human Capital Development Consultancy Firm). He is a trained Information Management Consultant and passionate preacher of the gospel.

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Features

Opinions Today, Pinions Tomorrow

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By Perez Tigidam

Nigeria is full of drama and the growing internet penetration and social media usage amplifies this daily. Individuals and even corporations are constantly being sucked into this pool of daily drama.

My thought is simple, if you must be an active and opinionated participant in every raging conversation on the internet, ensure you do so from the place of thought and principles and not an emotional rush, no matter how logical it might sound at the moment.

The internet archives, it never forgets.

Perez Tigidam

If you stand for a wrong today and months after try to go against that wrong because this time, you’re emotional towards one party involved, it means that you lack principle in the first place. Because the internet never forgets, people will call your bluff while referring to precedence.

It is very easy to glide into contradiction and inconsistency when you always have to offer opinion or hard stance not backed by principles.

Before you tweet, think. Before you post, pause to ponder.

perez tigidam

I have a particular friend who knows me so well that, in my absence, he can literally tell you what my position will be on any given issue even without hearing from me. Same for him. This is because -not to sound saintly- we’ve been consistent in our thought pattern over a long period of time. Our positions on things are always not popular but there’s been a pattern and we’ve been consistent.

One last thing,

In a low trust society like Nigeria, it’s important that you’re consistent in character and in principles. It helps when those with less knowledge of you bring up disparaging commentary of your person.

Last year, I had a fall out with a client and someone asked me, “What if this client decides to give a negative feedback on referrals?” My response was simple, my disagreement is not out of bad character but out of principle that binds a contractual relationship. Of every one client relationship that goes wrong, there are 9 others that will stand vehemently for me, because of character and precedence.

You can say I am not cheap when it comes to billing for my services and I’d agree, but I do not know that I am a cheat or dubious in character, for this I am grateful for my upbringing and can raise my shoulder anywhere to this.

If I disagree vehemently with a friend or a client, it’s mostly not out of bad character but out of principle. I rarely do shift from my position, either I just want to let you have your way and move on or I’m deeply convinced that my position is wrong, which doesn’t happen instantaneously either. I have to slowly be convinced on facts and principles that support that position, it’s the reason people say I’m stubborn.

But I am not.

Perez Tigidam is a brand management consultant and media entrepreneur based in Nigeria. He runs one of Nigeria’s foremost brand consultancy and design firms Arden & Newton Ltd and doubles up as the user experience and content strategy team lead at TheNerve Africa.

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Features

Going back to the basics.

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By Nimi Stephanie Ekere.

Last year, we were woken up to the news of a student who tried to poison his colleague because she was doing better than him, academically. This was to say the

least, frightening. That for me, set my mind wondering what the home environment of the said student was. If a child in Secondary school could think of something so terrible, it clearly showed that his family, which is the smallest unit of the society was in a wrong state. The reason is that the family forms most of a person’s values, at least at that tender age.

 

Recently, the suicide rate in the country has become so alarmingly high and particularly scary amongst young people. Young people take their lives for the flimsiest reasons. It’s either you hear that they took their lives because they were heartbroken in their relationship, they failed an exam or someone spoke to them badly.

 

In the past, we were known for our resilience and ability to adapt to even the most unfriendly situations, so what suddenly changed?

 

I would like us to look into the family setting and review our parenting styles and strategies. A lot has changed. Yes, I think a lot has changed so much; and this does not mean that our parents were perfect in the past. They made their mistakes but to a very large extent, they did a lot of things right.

 

Many modern day parents are so concerned about pleasing their children that a lot of areas are left unattended to. There seems to be no standards and values which are the bedrock of effective parenting.

 

The twenty first century parent is caught up in the web of an extremely busy schedule in the pursuit of money and when they make it, throw it at the child and fail to invest quality time with their children and lose the opportunity to discover their children and what they are growing up to become.

 

For many of these children, integrity means little or nothing, and the child having nothing to emulate, seeks help from his peers and the television.

 

Nannies have taken over the place of mothers in the lives of these children. And because parents are not always visible, and even if they are visible, they are unavailable, there lies a wide communication breakdown. And if a child cannot talk

or discuss everything with his parents, there usually are deadly alternatives for them.

 

Parents try to compensate for these deficiencies with wonderful vacations, gifts, expensive clothes and shoes and other luxuries. While these are wonderful, they do not take the place of deliberate, intentional and effective parenting.

 

Also, a lot of children are suffering from low self-esteem because of the unrealistic expectations and pressures from their parents. ‘Have you seen Linda’s results?’

Why can’t you come first place like Jonathan?’ This is all the child hears and gradually, his self-esteem completely gets eroded and he starts seeking for validation from external sources. He begins to have envy, hatred and unhealthy competitions as part of his everyday life.

 

This begins to manifest in his behaviour towards others. An example is the case of the seventeen year old boy that was left to drown by his friends because they were jealous of him. There are multiples of examples to buttress the fact that we must go back to the basics.

Parenting must be done right if we want to see this generation of children do better than us. There is a vacuum that must be filled. We must listen to these young ones. We must try to create time for them. Our values must not be thrown out, they must be instilled in our children. We can love our children without necessarily giving them everything they want. There should be discipline

in parenting. Sometimes, giving them all they want is not to their advantage. We must learn to know when to draw the line.

 

Their strengths should be celebrated while their weaknesses worked on. Unhealthy competitions are really unhealthy for them. We must know that every child is unique and is created differently with a special gift to change her world.

 

Prayer is an inevitable tool in effective parenting. Every word of prayer said on our children’s behalf is a seed that will germinate and yield fruits, good fruits. This said, prayers must go hand in hand with hard work as even the Bible admonishes us to intentionally, train up our children in a way that they should go and when they are old, they would not depart from it.

 

Thank you for reading this, I hope to get your feedback.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dr Nimi Stephanie Ekere is a wife, mother and Family Physician. She enjoys writing, reading and attending to her patients.  She is a life coach and teacher, who is passionate about children and young people walking in the right course and path to achieve their full potential.

Her Foundation, Ekom Charity Foundation mentors young people and also cares for the less privileged.

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