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Monthly Archives: June 2011

A lot on my mind (2) – Tayo Aderinokun

A few weeks ago, Nigeria lost one of its illustrious sons – Mr. Tayo Aderinokun, one of the founders of Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB) which in my humble opinion is the best bank in Nigeria at the moment. May his soul rest in peace. I do not know him personally, but I am very much in awe of his legacy. I pray that God grant his family, the grace and the courage to bear with his loss.

Nevertheless, most of the death notices said he’d been on sick leave from the bank for a few months prior to his death, but precious few mentioned the actual cause of death which is quite customary in Nigeria. However, I did find one newspaper that stated that he had cancer of the lungs and that he had been a dedicated chain smoker in his life. I was saddened that his family decided not to highlight that he died of cancer to provide a teachable moment to all the smokers out there that smoking can and does indeed cause cancer. Anything we can do to avoid this horrible disease as well as support research that may eliminate this scourge in our society should be encouraged. I know that the Nigerian instinct is to gloss over the cause of death – “after a brief illness” is the most common cause of death in Nigerian society.

I know this because I lost my father to pancreatic cancer in 2004 and my nuclear family had to fight our extended family to say in his death notice that he died of cancer. We decided to do so, not to stigmatize ourselves – cancer is for the most part arbitrary and can develop in any body – but to help de-stigmatize the stress on the families of cancer victims. And also, maybe just maybe, inspire someone enough to work hard to find a cure for this horrific disease. Mr. Aderinokun was such a high profile victim and his death could have been used to raise awareness and generate money for cancer research and awareness. I wish his family had chosen to make decision to highlight the existence of cancer in our society and help remove the stigma of cancer but I can understand why they may choose not to. Again, this piece is written not as an indictment of the grief-stricken family, it is just an observation on my part and commentary. Of course, the family may choose to support cancer charities and research privately and if so, more kudos to them.

The point I am trying to make is that we need more cancer research and awareness programmes. Often times the best way to generate this kind of awareness is when a high profile person is stricken with cancer. Most people feel a need to contribute to the elimination of the illness that has taken their beloved from the world. I know this personally, because I felt exactly that way when my dad died (in fact I was so motivated and inspired, I ran a half marathon – 13.1 miles – to raise money for pancreatic cancer research).  In any case, Mr. Aderinokun’s death is a wake up call to me to do more to support cancer care and awareness in my little bit of the universe and I pray for the courage to be able to do so and bring about change in the world!

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Posted by on June 30, 2011 in Life

 

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A lot on my mind – Weight Gain

I’ve got a lot on my mind today that I don’t think I can restrict them all to just one blog post. But it’s my blog and I can write as many times as I want in one day, no? Or is there any rule that says one can only post on one’s blog once a day? 🙂

I am overweight. I calculated my body mass index (BMI) today and got the shock of my life. I am 5 ft 9″ and I weigh 191lbs. Writing down my weight has been the scariest and bravest thing I’ve done recently (notwithstanding my recent baldie). I NEVER tell my weight. I’m happy to share my age, height and a few other intimate information about my life but stating my weight was always a no-no. Probably because I have become somewhat ashamed of how far from my ideal weight I am. I dated a guy who weighed less than I do and although he bugged me relentlessly to tell him how much I weighed and I never did. That’s how close-mouthed I am about my weight. Here’s to hoping he doesn’t find this blog!

Anyway, based on my weight and height combo, my BMI is 28! Normal BMI for a person of my height should be between 19 and 24 (128 -162lbs). The overweight index for my height runs from 25 to 29 (so I’m almost obese) and the obese index for my height runs from 30 to 40 (203 – 270lbs).

Sigh.

So, I definitely have to lose weight now. I’ve been trying to lose weight for a while now, but haven’t really been serious about it. I’ve recently taken up swimming – actually, I’m learning to swim – but the rainy season is interfering with that since classes are held in an outdoor pool. I was going to Eko Gym in VI for aerobic step/kickboxing, but have stopped attending lately (first because the instructor I like took a month’s vacation and second, because at N2000 per class, my Eko gym workout is a stretch on my finances). And I got a chef/housekeeper who is determined to fatten me up with little resistance from me so far. But changes need to be made.

I have to start with reduction of my food intake. This is the biggest challenge. The Nigerian diet is very carb and oil heavy and it’s very difficult to develop a weight loss diet plan with the food we have readily available here, but I’m going to try. I will hopefully post my diet here. I do not doubt that this is going to be a LOT of hard work and that I’m going to need a LOT of support, but we’ll start with keeping a record of what I’m actually doing and how that is working out for me.

I will also have to develop an exercise regimen that will fit into my life. Swim at least 3 times a week (weather permitting) and cardio exercise at least 2 days a week (treadmill, weights, or maybe back to Eko Gym aerobic classes). I’m also thinking about jump roping everyday for at least 30 mins every morning. I know I’m going to have to incorporate some hardcore exercise and lifestyle change in order to get started on this weight loss journey. Hopefully, I will have some success to register before my 35th birthday next year. *fingers crossed*

So goal in the next couple days: draw up weekly meal plan and a workable exercise regimen for weight loss.

 
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Posted by on June 30, 2011 in Life

 

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My life….

It’s been a little while since I’ve blogged. The reasons are varied, but bottomline is that I’ve been going through a lot of changes in my life of late and for the most part, I’ve been trying to deal with it all in compartments – each area by itself, without affecting the other parts. Needless to say, it has not been easy.

In my personal life, I got dumped by a guy I had been seeing for a few months. The fact of our break up wasn’t shocking – truth be told, I think we both knew this was not going to last long. The manner of break up though was very shocking to me and I have had to fight to reinforce and rebuild my self confidence. It is inevitable that people in relationships may not make it to the finish line….whatever that may be for each couple. What always gets me is how relationships do end. Some where in my fantasy world, I have always thought that I would have a conversation with the person with whom the relationship was no longer working and rationally discuss why we needed to stop. But it never happens that way. It seems one person is almost always callous with the other’s heart/emotions. Why is that? In any case, Mr. No-Ex and I are over and I have made peace with that fact. He was wrong for me on all levels, but I let myself be “romanced” into the relationship because I had been starved of attention and I certainly got what I deserved. Lesson learned.

The second other thing in my universe of course is my baldie. I am transitioning into a full head of African curls and the slowness of the process is only now getting to me. At the rate my hair is growing, I won’t even be able to put in braids until after six months at least! I am getting bored with the look, although I must say that I am enjoying the freedom that comes with bucking societal trends as it relates to women’s hair in Lagos. I have bought some hair products to try out but will wait a few weeks to see their effect on my hair before I recommend!

Third thing is the rain! It has affected me so much. My neighborhood is flooded and driving to and from home has been with a prayer. No light and floods, and yet I ought to be greatful because I have it much better than most of my fellow Nigerians. Yet gratitude is a struggle for me.

Last but not least, a close member of my family is dying of cancer and I find myself too paralyzed to help. I want to, but I keep avoiding her (and the whole cancer bit). My dad died of cancer and it was without exaggeration, the worst, most horrible time of my life and I just can’t bring myself to deal with cancer again. Which makes me a bad person since I know this really is NOT about me, but my aunt and somehow I cannot get over my self long enough to truly be of help to her.

 
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Posted by on June 27, 2011 in Life