Monthly Archives: October 2015

Story 1

I am sure you can tell I have a lotta free time now to faff…

This “story” is one of two stories I have had people ask me to share. I hope someday I have the courage and time to post the second story. That one go be like Nollywood movie. Anyways….

Annie Idibia had some pictures up today to raise awareness for Breast Cancer and I saw some downright stupid comments online. Anyways once again…..

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I lost my paternal grandfather August 1, 2003. A few days before that, while having a bath, I felt a lump in my left breast. Felt it the first day and checked everyday hoping it woulda disappeared. I was in a very bad state by Day 5 and struggled with telling anybody what I had discovered. Fast forward about 10 days. Yes 10 good days, I called my mum into her room one Tuesday evening. Waited for her to return from church (mistake or what?). So I tell momma “be like say I get lump for breast” (def not in pidgin English) and typical Naija mum style, she starts to rebuke and practically tells me not to even think of that. Ah ah, ki lo ro debeyen (I have no idea how to interpret this in English) and all. And she is praying all sorts of prayers. Me? I am just there confused.

Mums tells pops later that night and pops says “well, the only way to find out if she is saying the truth is to take her to a doctor”. So we decide to go see a doctor the next morning.

Now you ask what I was even looking for on my breast ba? Well na my property. I had been kinda fascinated with breast cancer ish since I read about then popular footballer, Victor Ikpeba who lost his wife Tinuke to breast cancer. I remember that prior to that, stories on breast cancer always had some much older women that it became a myth, young women don’t have cancer. Till Ikpeba’s wife died. So I did a bit of research on breast cancer.

Fast forward a few years and I notice a lump. I say to myself “Debola, to think it is “this cancer thing” than will now kill you”.

Wednesday morning, we are at the hospital, first thing in the morning. Male doctor on duty. Mums says no. Male doctor cannot see my daughter (Naija mum in action). At that point, I couldn’t be bothered and asked that anybody on duty should attend to me. Doctor confirms there is a lump – a moving lump at that. He couldn’t ascertain if it is cancerous until further tests were done. I almost freaked. Got home and headed to the nearest cybercafe (yes it was cybercafe those days  – at least during the day) and did a bit of research while imagining possible ways the cancer will kill me. I couldn’t pray, I couldn’t read for my exams. How I managed to pass the exams I have no idea.

Mums sister is a doctor. Mums and pops had discussed and pops requested a second opinion. So we waited for my aunty to return from her vacation. As usual, she is in Ibadan once she is back from her vacation. You need to see the look on her face when she called me to come into my parents room. I knew for sure I was dying. She did all the checks and gives the same result. She cannot confirm until further tests were done. I needed to come to Lagos as soon as possible. I had exams however so had to wait till my exams are done. Exams ended on a Monday, I was shipped to Lagos the next day.

Now I rode to Lagos with my grandma who you cannot hide anything from. The moment we stopped at her sister’s and I got asked why I was in Lagos when school was in session, my grandma’s ears caught it. She also had this “you are dying look”. Omo mehn by this time, I had just prepared myself. If it was cancer and it meant death… Oh well. However, how my parents, grandma and the entire family will feel was so heavy on my mind (especially with a recent death in the family), I told myself, no death mehn. Odeshi

All that encouragement came crumbling the moment I got to my aunty’s. So my cousin asks why I was in Lag and I tell him. His next words were “so you came to Lagos to die” – I remember that statement (till what part of the house we were when he said it) like it was said yesterday. I emotionally died a thousand times. Hours later, I was woken up to join a vigil. My aunty got these pastor friends of hers to come hold a vigil for me. You know I was so convinced I would die. Like there was nothing anyone will tell me differently. To make matters worse, vigil ends and Pastor Mrs decides to “encourage” me. She tells me a story of how her sister had a surgery and of the 7 patients in the ward scheduled for the same surgery, only her sister survived. Shoro niyen.

Wednesday morning. My aunty wakes me up. Surgery won’t hold today. We will do it on Thursday. Okay I said. Thursday morning. Sorry surgery won’t hold today. Friday morning. Sorry surgery won’t hold today. As you might have guessed. I freaked out and burst into tears. I was in negative emotionally. Finally called mums later that day. Wasn’t encouraging. Apparently, aunty too kinda was freaked out and wanted mums at least to be around during the surgery. Mums couldn’t get time off work at short notice and had to wait till work ended on Friday afternoon before heading to Lagos.

Finally, Saturday morning. We all head to the hospital. Surgery was scheduled for 8am. 9am we were yet to start. 9:30am. No show. 10am, no show. I was worried. Mums comes into ward and I ask why the delays. Apparently, my aunty wanted my dad in Lagos too (you see why doctors are not allowed to treat not to talk of operate on their family members?). Not sure if she was worried I will die and hence wanted my parents to see me before I died. I dunno.

Surgery started when it was confirmed my dad was close to Lagos. With my grandma. Yepa!!! By the time the anesthetic kicked in and I blanked out, pops and grandma were around. Fortunately, I woke up (Halleluyah) about an hour later to see everyone of them (my aunty’s husband had joined by then) staring at me.

Fortunately again, further tests on the lump revealed it was not cancerous. I went back to school. Asides my besties Ify and Tos, nobody else knew what happened. Life went on. Got back to realize a good friend and classmate for 12 years had been battling Ovarian Cancer. She died the following year.

Did I forget to mention, I was 15 when this happened?

Fast forward about 7 years. August 2010. About the same time I noticed the first one. I had kinda noticed another lump. This time – my right breast. And I tell myself, nah it can’t be. Never. Not again.  Got a job November (about 10 days to my birthday) that year and was asked to go for medicals. Doctor (female this time, lol) decided to do a breast examination. She is done and she is giving me this deadly look. I get off the examination table, get dressed and she is about to give me the you have a lump, it might be cancer talk. I was so upset (I still don’t know why), I cut her off and tell her not to worry. I know the drill. Well it might not be cancer, just get it checked and removed as soon as possible. I had this ese, eku ife statement just at the tip of my tongue.

I get into my car and CRIED. Not again Lord, not again.

Called my mum and seriously I managed to get home through my tears. Told my aunty later that night and she fixes an appointment with the same doctor. Doctor however says he cannot do surgery as it was close to Christmas, he was traveling and all. Oh well, I had to wait till January, January 10. Surgery was even smoother than the first and mums was my only audience this time (thank God for mothers). However, I took almost 2 hours to wake up – mums don freak out sote. I had this sharp pains for the next 3 weeks. Dang, no amount of Ibuprofen could save me. Fortunately, I was good enough even with the pains to return to work after 2 weeks. Once again, it wasn’t cancer.

******************************************************************************************October is the breast cancer awareness month.

A lot of people still with all the many deaths and talk just don’t bother to get themselves checked.

I mean, a few months after my first surgery, during a female teens church class (we were being “educated” on health and hygiene and all), I stupidly “volunteered” to talk about my experience so others can be educated. Head Teens church teacher practically asked me to shut up. In her words “you don’t discuss such outside. How do you want people to look at you after today? Do you know the trauma cancer parents pass through?” Mogbe

January 2011, I decide to ask for days off work for the surgery and one of the HR babes asks why I needed day off as the year just started. I tell her and she goes “breast examination no concern her. She has never done it. She has no idea how it is done” and goes on to ask me if it was necessary to even get examined sef. How did you find out? she asked. The lady is about 5 years older than  I am.

I read a lot of comments on people who had lost family members – sisters, mothers, aunties, friends to breast cancer and other forms of cancer and I can’t help but think, what if it was me!!!! Mehn, people are dying because a lot of people don’t detect it early. They don’t detect it early because they don’t check……… It is your breast. It is your body. CHECK IT!!!!

Ladies go get yourself checked. And check often. Won’t kill you. If you are  married, let your husbands do the checking for you (if you no wan do am yourself). But seriously, checking doesn’t kill. It just might save your life.

I struggle with what Christians say at times

As you must have deduced from my last post, I haven’t been to church much this year. So since the project is informally over (except all the project closure ish), I have my Sundays especially back. So I went to church 2 Sundays ago.

I don’t recall what the Sunday School topic was. I left my class to go find out my posting for the day and overheard this Sunday School teacher talk.

So he is telling his “students” something but I caught/ started listening from the part where he says these stories.

Story 1: This young lady says no to a guy. Guy is now married. Lady isn’t. Teacher goes on to advise “women” not to say no to guys because in his words, lady isn’t married as God is punishing her for not agreeing to marry the guy. That her punishment is being single because she didn’t marry the guy

Story 2: Another guy friend of his approaches a lady. Lady says no. Again guy is married. Lady isn’t. Guy, lady and teacher now live in the same neighbourhood.In his words again: “You can imagine how the lady feels anytime she sees the children’s (the guy’s children’s) clothes at the back. Because she can see the guy’s house from hers”. Again, he concludes that the lady is being punished for not agreeing to marry the guy.

And I thought to myself. SERIOUSLY!!!!????? I will give 2 stories about myself.

Story 1: I dated a guy about 5 years ago. A few months in, I realized we were better off as friends and ended it. He got married early this year. We still have remained very good friends. Basically based on Sunday School’s teacher’s logic. I am still single now because God is punishing me right?

Story 2: Some guy in church comes to me 4 years ago. God told him I was his wife. God gave him my name. Guy was twice my age then. Definitely God couldn’t have asked me to marry someone twice my age ba? He got married the following year. To someone who bears my name. Again, we have remained friends. I am single because God is punishing me right?

It just doesn’t matter that maybe we were not compatible. Maybe we were not in the same place. Maybe we were just not made for each other? Maybe it is ok to just be friends. Maybe, maybe, maybe.

How did we get to the point were we attribute being single to sin. Like every 20-something, 30-something, 40-something woman who is single is single because God is punishing her. Never mind that there are single men in that same age range. Their being single isn’t God’s punishment I guess.

Lord knows I spent most of that week thinking about it and how many non-Christians would hear that statement and just won’t have that. How the church doesn’t support singlehood. A lot of Christians see it as sin and it is majorly alarming. Little wonder why there is no support system in most churches for singles.

Last Sunday, same ish happened. Issue is where we meet to get our postings is close to this class. So I get to hear him talk.

So he is giving this talk about how people should respect workers in the church. Very valid point. I completely agree. And then gives this example. This person (female again) steps on him while on duty (he used to be an usher). He says right there, he “reported” her to God. He made this statement with so much glee. In his words “when God started to deal with her, I had to beg God that it was enough”.

I am an usher in church. I can’t count how many times people have been rude, insulting and downright annoying. I can also not count any occasion where I asked God to punish the person. Like really? God should punish someone??? By all means get upset, be angry. Lose your cool if you want to (no be me talk am o). Really don’t lose your cool. I still can’t wrap my mind round it.

I have concluded that Sunday School teacher must have been so hurt by women in the past. Since he typically uses women as examples when it comes to negative things. Oh that’s how one woman died and got to Heaven but was sent to hell because she used earrings. She “resurrected” and stopped using earrings. Hence earrings will send you to hell. He has stopped his wife from using earrings. And she must cover her head. Yes he has given that example before. I almost died.

Every project has an end date

April 14, 2014

I resumed at the firm.

April 17, 2014

I was assigned to a project. A 12 months project. Expected end date: July 2015.

June – August 2014

Project stalled.

August 2014

Project has been extended to October 2015. Go-Live date: October 5, 2015. I almost died. 2015 seemed so far especially for someone as restless as I am. Not to now talk of October. Laun laun?!!! E fe pa mi ni?

September 2014

Took a 2 weeks break to work on another project.

December 2014

I was mandated to take PMP at work. I had planned to take it at the end of the project, one, to get enough hours and two, I knew I might not have the time to read. I had listed taking the exam as part of my goals for the FY.

Anyways, the mail came from my manager  December 18. Ensure you take the exam Q1, 2015. Unfailingly.

January 2015

I found a centre to do my PMP training.

Had a new in-charge who loved to close late (even if the work could be continued the next day and the deliverable wasn’t urgent). He wants to make Manager so he is ready to die there.

February 2015

Finished PMP training. Now to register for the exam. Wahala. Centre kept messing up.

March 2015

Finally got registered for the exam. All along, I didn’t have the “time” to read. I will promise to read when I get home but when you have been at work since 8:30/ 9am and just getting home at 11pm, sure reading will be the last thing on your mind.

I will read on weekends. Weekends became sleep/ catch-up days. May is coming!!!!

April 2015

Dawns on me kinda that May was just next tomorrow literally. Start to read even in my very tired state. Hoping to take a week off at the end of April to “read”. Exam is May 2

May 2015

I had not gone on vacation for the FY. We were informed no vacays till project is over. At this point, I was so sure I won’t survive. I have been on an implementation job before but it wasn’t this tasking… and long. Suddenly, October felt like a very long time away.

Week off in April/ May became 2 days off. Had to go to work the Monday I was meant to start my leave. Took Tuesday off. Wednesday and Thursday I spent in training. Friday was a public holiday.

Even when I knew that though I had read and all, I didn’t feel as prepared as I should be. My boss is begging me to please pass and is telling me he knows I don’t have the time to read. I am like…..

Then May 1 came. Failed all the tests I did. I couldn’t even cry. Just shut down my laptop, closed all books and went to bed. Woke up May 2 and headed for the centre. At that point, I was like Esther – “If I fail, I fail”.

May 10, got a mail. I passed. Unbelievable!!!!

June 2015

The 24/7 work begins. Prior to this I worked weekends but minimally. I had time to still go out, see people, go for weddings and all. Then June 2015 came. 8am – 11pm or more work. Work on Saturdays and Sundays. No breaks. No vacations. No church. No parties. No hanging out. Nada. Zero social life. Social life I was trying to build.

Public holidays became regular work days.

QP was scheduled for July 2 – 4. I was working 3 projects at the same time – day job, QP and wedding planning.

July 2015

A cousin’s wedding is coming up. How will I get time off? Fortunately, the wedding dates fell on a public holiday weekend. Was able to get one day off – Saturday. Funny innit? I have to ask for Saturday off.

I went to South-South for the first time – yayyest. PH.

Got off the plane from PH and met my church Pastor at the airport. Monday morning.

Question: where are you coming from?

Pays to be a good girl *lol*

August 2015

Mehn, the hustle is real. At this point, I was too sure I will collapse one day. Multivitamins became my daily tonic. Work + my sister’s wedding. I was looking forward to October.

Went to church for the first time in almost 2 months. I couldn’t even wake up early to make Fresh Anointing Service or Workers’ prayer meeting. I was drifting.

Sis’ wedding came and I was back at work immediately. I was tired. Physically, mentally and emotionally. Drained!!!

Yet people saw me and said I looked good. And am thinking “abi these people are blind ni”? It could only have been God. I was totally off make-up. Biko who had time to draw eye brows? I really couldn’t be bothered about how I looked frankly.

iPhone was stolen. I couldn’t even shout. God bless the person that stole it. I shall not use my mouth to curse him/ her.

September 2015

Def, no more church.

Cousin’s wedding. Started begging for day off (including Saturday o).

Go-live planning ongoing.

We are seriously praying. We all know what happens to the best laid plans…. We are positive but still

October 1, 2015

Party dey for church, I no fit go. Managed to go see Captive. Sleeping at work begins

October 2, 2015

Work continues. Mehn we are just hanging in there. Almost there.

October 3, 2015

Go decision is taken

October 4, 2015

We are live mehn. See praise and worship. Come and hear prayers.

October 5, 2015

Application is LIVE. Day 1 operations nationwide. Minimal issues. Way less issues that we thought.

I think I am ready to have my life back now!!!