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Fighting Cholera

Today CNN reported that more than 100 people died of cholera in Cameroon. The deaths were said to have occurred in the High North region of northern Cameroon and the Governor stated that more than 600 people have been stricken with cholera, Cameroon Health, a local non-governmental organization, puts the number of sick people at closer to 1,500.

What is Cholera? Cholera is a contagious bacterial disease affecting the intestinal system. Symptoms including intense diarrhea and vomiting, weakness and leg cramps.
How does Cholera kills? The bacteria Vibrio cholerae is found in an infected person’s stools and vomit. It is spread most commonly through contact with a patient (or their waste) and ingesting the bacteria. This can happen when the hands are contaminated and not washed properly prior to eating. The bacteria can also contaminate food or water. When water is infected this can cause and explosive outbreak.
In the intestine, the bacteria creates a toxin that causes diarrhea and vomiting. A patient under treatment can lose more than 50 liters of fluid during a bout of cholera. If treatment is not given in a timely fashion, fatal dehydration can occur. In severe cases this can take only a couple of hours.

Preventing cholera
There is no effective vaccine against cholera. The only way to fight it is by preventing its spread.
• Wash your hands. This may seem simple but studies have shown that a significant number of people don’t wash their hands properly and as such can still transmit diseases like cholera. The US center of disease control recommends this method of hand washing.
Wash Your Hands: The Right Way
When washing hands with soap and water:
• Wet your hands with clean running water and apply soap. Use warm water if it is available.
• Rub hands together to make a lather and scrub all surfaces.
• Continue rubbing hands for 15-20 seconds. Need a timer? Imagine singing “Happy Birthday” twice through to a friend.
• Rinse hands well under running water.
• Dry your hands using a paper towel or air dryer. If possible, use your paper towel to turn off the faucet.
• Always use soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty.
If soap and clean water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub to clean your hands. Alcohol-based hand rubs significantly reduce the number of germs on skin and are fast-acting.
When using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer:
• Apply product to the palm of one hand.
• Rub hands together.
• Rub the product over all surfaces of hands and fingers until hands are dry.
• Always wash hands after using the toilet
• Always wash hands before cooking.
• Keep water clean. Do not drink untreated water. Treat water using at least 2 methods: Filtration and boiling or filtration and adding chlorine. (This is a basic overview of water treatment) Keep water containers clean and do not put your hands in drinking or cooking water.
• Cook food thoroughly and eat it while it is hot. Fish and shellfish are a major cause of cholera: only eat them if they are well-cooked. Be careful of raw foods like salads or fruit. Wash vegetables and fruit in treated water before use, or peel them if there is no water. Discourage the habit of several people eating together from a communal food container.

Treating Cholera
Cholera is treatable. The main way it kills is by causing dehydration, therefore the treatment is to replace lost fluid as quickly as possible. Some facilities use oral re-hydration solutions, called ORS. This is a mixture of glucose and electrolytes (such as sodium and potassium). The solution is stirred into a liter of water and provides the correct balance of electrolytes to re-hydrate a cholera patient. It has been said that in global terms, ORS is the most important medical discovery since penicillin.
Some cholera patients cannot keep anything down orally because of the nausea and vomiting so these people should be treated with IV drips. If treatment is proactive and properly addressed then the fatality rate can drop to less than 1%.
For more information on cholera visit

Smile! It’s good for your health.

Smile from Max Qubit on Vimeo.

Smiling is not just something you do to make others feel at ease, it is critical for your good health.

Why should you smile?

Smiling makes others want to be around us: People are drawn to genuine smiles. They want to find out why we are feeling so good.

Smiling can make us happy: Have you heard the saying, turn that frown upside down? Well smiling can turn your mood upside down. If you are in a funk, trying smiling at someone, they might smile back and even make you laugh.

Smiling releases endorphins: Studies have shown that smiling releases serotonin and endorphins, two natural
chemicals that make us feel good. Smiling one of nature’s antidepressants.

Smiling lifts the face and makes us appear younger, and more attractive.

Smiling makes one seem more confident, making one more likely to be promoted. Put on a smile at meetings and appointments and watch how things change for you.

Smiling can lower blood pressure. There is evidence that smiling can cause a measurable decrease in blood pressure.

Go ahead and smile. It’s good for you.

The Skinny on fatty acids.

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fatty acids for good health however, our bodies cannot make then and they must be gained by eating the right foods. Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in fish, like salmon, tuna, and halibut, some plants and nuts. Omega-3 fatty acids also play an integral role in brain health and normal growth and development. They seem to be important for both cognitive and behavioral function. New studies have shown that fetuses that do not get enough omega-3 fatty acids in utero are at a higher risk for vision and nerve disorders. However Omega fatty acids are most popularly known for reducing risks associated with heart disease. The American Heart Association recommends adding fatty fish like mackerel, herring, sardines, albacore tuna, and salmon to your diet at least twice a week.

When adding Omega fatty acids to your diet as food or a nutritional supplement, a balance of omega-3 and omega-6 should be maintained. The Mediterranean diet has a healthy balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Many studies have shown that people who eat this way are less likely to develop heart disease. The Mediterranean diet limits meat (which is high in omega-6 fatty acids) and emphasizes foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, like whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, fish, olive oil, garlic, as well as moderate wine consumption.

Omega fatty acids can be used for the following:

High cholesterol
People who follow a Mediterranean-style diet usually have higher HDL levels. HDL is considered good cholesterol, which helps to promote heart health. Several studies have also shown that fish oil supplements reduce triglyceride levels.

High blood pressure
Several studies illustrate that omega-3 fatty acids lower blood pressure in people with hypertension. An analysis of 17 clinical studies using fish oil supplements found that taking 3 or more grams of fish oil daily may reduce blood pressure in people with untreated hypertension.

Heart disease
One of the best ways to help prevent heart disease is to eat a diet low in saturated fat and to eat foods that are rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (including omega-3 fatty acids). Clinical evidence proposes that EPA and DHA, the two omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil can lower levels of triglycerides i.e fats in the blood and to lower the risk of death, heart attack, stroke, and arrhythmias in people who have previously had a heart attack. Fish oil seems to help prevent and treat atherosclerosis by reducing development of plaque and blood clots, which can clog arteries.
Studies indicate that omega-3 fatty acids in the diet, helps protect against stroke. Eating at least 2 servings of fish per week can reduce the risk of stroke by as much as 50%. However, high doses of fish oil and omega-3 fatty acids may increase the risk of bleeding. People who eat more than 3 grams of omega-3 fatty acids per day (equivalent to 3 servings of fish per day) may have higher risk for hemorrhagic stroke, a potentially fatal type of stroke in which an artery in the brain leaks or ruptures.

Rheumatoid arthritis
Most clinical studies examining omega-3 fatty acid supplements for arthritis have focused on rheumatoid arthritis, a disease that causes inflammation in the joints. Some studies have found that fish oil helps reduce symptoms including joint pain and morning stiffness. One study suggests that people with RA who take fish oil regularly may be able to lower their dose of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like Ibuprofen.

Colon cancer
Eating foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids seems to reduce the risk of colorectal cancer. Looking at the Eskimos, who have a high-fat diet but eat significant amounts of fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids, they have a low incidence of colorectal cancer. Animal studies and laboratory studies show that omega-3 fatty acids prevent worsening of colon cancer. Preliminary studies recommend that taking fish oil daily may help slow the progression of colon cancer in people with early stages of the disease. If you have colorectal cancer, ask your doctor before taking any supplements.
Breast cancer
It is also suggested that women who eat foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids over many years may be less likely to develop breast cancer. More research is needed to understand the effect that omega-3 fatty acids may have on the prevention of breast cancer.

Prostate cancer
Population based studies of groups of men suggest that a low-fat diet including omega-3 fatty acids from fish or fish oil help prevent the development of prostate cancer.
Fish, plant, and nut oils are the primary dietary source of omega-3 fatty acids. Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are found in cold-water fish such as salmon, mackerel, sardines, tuna, and herring. ALA is found in flaxseeds, flaxseed oil, canola (rapeseed) oil, soybeans, soybean oil, pumpkin seeds.
Both EPA and DHA can be taken in the form of fish oil capsules.

Dosage and Administration
Dosing for fish oil supplements is based on the amount of EPA and DHA, not on the total amount of fish oil. Supplements vary in the amounts and ratios of EPA and DHA. A common amount of omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil capsules is 0.18 grams (180 mg) of EPA and 0.12 grams (120 mg) of DHA. Five grams of fish oil contains approximately 0.17 – 0.56 grams (170 -560 mg) of EPA and 0.072 – 0.31 grams (72 – 310 mg) of DHA. Different types of fish contain variable amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, and different types of nuts or oil contain variable amounts of LNA. Fish oils contain approximately 9 calories per gram of oil.

Do not take more than 3 grams daily of omega-3 fatty acids from capsules without the supervision of a health care provider, due to an increased risk of bleeding.
• For healthy adults with no history of heart disease: The American Heart Association recommends eating fish at least 2 times per week.
• For adults with coronary heart disease: The American Heart Association recommends an omega-3 fatty acid supplement (as fish oils), 1 gram daily of EPA and DHA. It may take 2 – 3 weeks for benefits of fish oil supplements to be seen.
• For adults with high cholesterol levels: The American Heart Association recommends an omega-3 fatty acid supplement (as fish oils), 2 – 4 grams daily of EPA and DHA. It may take 2 – 3 weeks for benefits of fish oil supplements to be seen.

Introducing Pilates

Pilates improves your mental and physical health by increasing flexibility and muscle strength by utilizing controlled movement in mat exercises or pilates. It is popular exercise method for dancers and Hollywood types, as it is said to help them maintain great posture and a long lean look without adding that bulky muscular look.
German born Joseph H. Pilates, founded this exercise method. He was a nurse in Great Britain during World War I, and he designed this exercise style for immobilized patients and soldiers. Pilates consists of series of mat exercises that focus on the torso, the core strength. Pilates pulls from various exercise methods around the world, in particular yoga and martial arts.
Joseph Pilates maintained that our physical and mental healths are connected. He designed his exercise program around this ideology and as such his methods include focusing on concentration, controlling breathing and using flowing movements.
The mat exercises in pilates, only require a floor mat and training. These exercises use your own body weight as resistance. Which make is great for just about everyone, whether you have never exercised before or are an athlete.
Keep these tips in mind so that you can get the most out of your pilates workout.
• Focus on your breathing. Pilates combines your breathing rhythm with your body movements. Doing this helps to clear the mind and relieve stress as well as strengthens your body.
• Dress for comfort. Wear comfortable clothes, shorts or leggings and a T-shirt or tank top are good examples and Pilates is usually done without shoes. If you start feeling experiencing pain, you should stop.
• Be fluid. When you perform Pilates, avoid making sharp movements, try to flow. Every movement should be fluid and strong, like a dance.
• Keep it cardio. In Pilates, you don’t have to sweat to get a good workout but if you can also work the exercises quickly, while still being fluid then then you can increase your heart rate and you can also pair your pilates with a cardio program as well.
Before you begin any type of exercise program, it’s important to talk with your doctor, particularly if you have a health problem or ongoing medical issues.

You are not your bag

image from

I was at dinner the other day with some girlfriends and the conversation turned to the intense materialism some of our Nigerian sisters display in their day to day lives. We talking about the lengths some women go to just to carry certain bags or wear certain shoes or drive certain cars, well you get the drift…My friend said it in her tell it like it is way, “Let’s face it, some have even dabbled in the diabolical!” I laughed hard but it’s true. So I started thinking about these material things and how we have let them define us.

Trappings of wealth or trapped by wealth?

I used to have a thing for handbags, I mean I can’t compete with some of the heavy bags carriers out there, never have been able to, never really wanted to. I always said that if I couldn’t express my personal style for a reasonable price then just forget it. But last year, I fell hard for this Fendi purse. It was not overly loud, well I mean it was as quiet as anything with a logo splashed all over it could be…It was just my style…and it was too expensive. I could afford it, but that wasn’t the point, I knew as I forked over my debit card, that it was an unnecessary expense, but somehow I felt like I needed it and had to have it.

Now I went to Nigeria and rocked the purse among others and of course found myself many a time being looked over and checked out to see whether I was among or not. Needless to say, I saw many purses in my bags family, some real, some fake and every woman carried it like an ID card.

Now I must confess, I don’t treat my bags very well. Any purse that comes into my home better be prepared to work. Gone are the days of sitting in a lighted case looking pretty. No way, you are going to be put to work, you will carry load and yet you might get set down in some not so fancy places and you may not always sleep in your dust bag…so get over it. Apparently this Fendi didn’t get the memo, because a few months ago, the handle pulled off. I was mortified. I mean the bag was packed full, I mean I had a juice box or two, a couple of lip gloss, a highly disorganized wallet, a child’s t-shirt, almonds, a novel, a small bible, sunglasses, sina’s sunglasses, crackers, a light bulb ( don’t ask) and a screwdriver. (Hey you never know!)

Now I was so irritated when the handle pulled off, I mean it’s not like this was a fake and even though Bloomingdale’s reassured me that they would be happy to send it off for repairs I was slightly irritated. I mean what was the point of paying so much for a bag that couldn’t stand up to my other ones.

It got me thinking about how we assign value to things.

I have heard of women putting hair on layaway, I have heard of women chasing married men because they hear that just for dinner the man will gift you enough to get the latest Jimmy Choo. I like nice things just as much as the next person, but I like one thing more. Me!

I haven’t carried that Fendi for months, I just have no desire. The thing disappointed me and now I can’t trust that it can handle what I am going to throw in it. So it sits on the shelf and I carry my other purses that I know can handle the pressure. However, I don’t find myself yearning for it, it doesn’t impact me, it doesn’t define my life.

And this is the truth, no matter how many designer bags you own, no matter what kind of car you drive, it doesn’t define you, even when you want it to. You are still you. Underneath that expensive clothing, if you don’t wash your body, it still stinks. So what’s all the fuss about?

We have been bamboozled. Lied to and its still going on, with every ad that says you’ve got to have it, it will make you more noticeable, people will respect you, people will love you, you will be somebody…lies, every one of them. From the airbrushed models to the seductive copy, its all lies.

No bag can make you somebody. No car, no brazilian hair just cut from the baby’s scalp can define you. They are simply things. Some nicer than others but all the same just things, and they can never compensate for what and who you should be. I mean nice things are just that and if you can afford them why not, but if you have to stretch or do some crazy things to be among, please o!

I paid too much for my lazy bag. Have you? Your life is too much to trade for the trappings of wealth, your dignity, your pride. Your love, your body…all these are priceless, so bartering with them makes no sense.

I know people who have traded their futures for an upgrade. Dating a man who you don’t love and who certainly doesn’t love you just so you can be among those who now travel business class. I mean it is certainly comfy but again not worth it if I have to give up myself to do it.

Let me paint you a picture. A glossy magazine ad, a woman, beautiful seeming to radiate light from within her, happy and fulfilled and yes, fly. That’s you and me. That picture right there is what we are and we are worth more than rubies! More than Gucci, Chanel and even “Hermes”.

So I am suggesting that we stop trading ourselves for these trappings of wealth. Instead let’s trade these trappings in, so we can be the people we really want to be.

Healthy options for lunch or dinner

Healthy options for entrees

Most African traditional entrees are fairly nutritious, however we can be more mindful of the ingredients we use and adjust according to our needs. Palm oil can be substituted for olive oil, which has less cholesterol, the assorted meats we use should be reviewed for fat and cholesterol content and the amount and kinds of carbohydrates we consume should be a conscious decision as well, pounded yam and rice and simple carbohydrates which are more easily broken down into fats, as opposed to beans and vegetables.
Here are some entrees that combine protein with vegetables which are great for those looking to control or reduce their weight. Limiting carbohydrates especially when one lives a fairly sedentary lifestyle can be an effective method of weight control.
Roasted Chicken with cabbage and carrots.
Cut up chicken into parts and remove skin (this cuts a significant amount of fat out of the dish). Prepare the pepper marinade. 1 tablespoon of olive oil, I crushed bouillon cube or ½ cup of reduced chicken stock, 1 whole onion chopped, add 1 habanero pepper (atarodo) or 1 tbsp of dry ground pepper, salt and thyme. Marinade chicken for at least an hour. Roast in oven at 375degrees until done, about 1 – 1/2hrs. Serve with steamed cabbage and carrots.

Grilled whole tilapia with stewed Spinach

Grilled Tilapia: Chop an onion and red bell pepper up into small pieces and put in a bowl. Squeeze the juice from a small lemon, a teaspoon of vinegar, ground pepper, oil and salt and stir. Clean the tilapia and cut three slits across the tilapia on both sides. Coat tilapia with mixture and make sure some of mixture enters through the slits. Lt marinate for about an hour. Grill the whole tilapia over a charcoal fire or broil it in the oven. Turn the tilapia over one or two times when you cook it to make it evenly grilled. You can add hot pepper for taste.
Stewed spinach: Chop up onions, 1 large onion to 1lb of spinach. Saute onions in about a tablespoonful of olive oil and add salt and pepper to taste. Add chopped tomatoes and sauté. You can add a bouillon cube if you desire (be mindful of MSG content though). Add ground dried shrimp to taste. Then add in fresh chopped up spinach and sauté for a few minutes. Serve with tilapia.

How can we become empowered patients?

Dr Adaibe Offurum is the Assistant professor of medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. She is a graduate of NYU school of medicine and has been practicing and teaching medicine for about a decade.
EwellAfrica chatted with her about how we can improve our health and quality of living.

Ewellafrica: What do you think are some of the current issues facing patients in Africa, other than the obvious lack of infrastructure and more?

Dr Offurum: One of the problems is the God complex that some physicians have and patients have about their doctors, believing and acting as if they are above error and mistake. This idea is perpetuated by lack of choice, people don’t get second opinions because they simply don’t have the options. But even in Africa, where resources are limited. You still have the internet and other resources and people can be more empowered. They are definitely becoming more motivated and informed.

EwellAfrica: Would you say that part of problem is our mindset?

Dr Offurum: In Nigeria, we don’t tend to think longevity, we tend to have a fatalistic view of life, we almost don’t expect to live long and we don’t feel like as if we have control over our lives. We feel very powerless and as such we don’t pursue wellness actively. However as a patient you have more power than you realize. There are simple steps you can take to improve your health and ask the right questions and get better information from your health care providers can really make a difference long term.

Here is Dr Offurum’s list of eight things you can do to impact your health care positively.

  1. Be an active participant in your health. Understand you are paying for a service, so whatever dynamic you may feel between doctor and patient in Africa or in the Diaspora, you should recognize your own value. You have a right to ask questions and make sure you have a full understanding of what the doctor is telling you.
  2. It is important to ask when you do a check up to ask the doctor what test do I really need, as opposed to what kind of test do you all have ( the more empowered you are the more forthright a doctor is because a more open dialogue actually helps the doctor practice better medicine. If you don’t ask questions and share information the doctor is ill equipped to help you.
  3. If you have been diagnosed with something chronic like diabetes or hypertension, you really need to have a thorough discussion of what medication is best for you based on cost, lifestyle etc. If cost is an issue, then be honest about it, if it is not you should also be clear about that because pharmaceutical cost varies.
  4. Focus on your own health and wellness. Regardless of the gaps in our healthcare system, Nigeria may still need to progress in the care of trauma care, heart disease and cancer to name a few areas of opportunity, each individual still needs be accountable for what how they actively impact their health. Healthy eating and moderate exercise can go a long way towards living well.
  5. Symptom awareness. We tend to only focus on extreme symptoms in Nigeria, as in symptoms that are difficult to live with, such as high fevers, difficulty breathing and more. That is when we go to the hospital.  At which point you might already be quite severely compromised, so recognize the earlier you react to symptoms, the better the chance of you being alive but also you will likely create a more conducive atmosphere for a positive health care experience.
  6. Self treatment is a major problem in Africa. People tend to see the doctor only after their attempts at diagnosing and self treatment are futile, at which point the symptoms may have even worsened and care may be complicated by the fact that the patient has ingested various medications both pharmaceutical and herbal that they may not be forthcoming about, possibly resulting in drug interactions and more.
  7. You have to trust that God is working through your health care providers, if you trust the doctors, let your faith also allow the doctor to provide the right care for your illness. So if the doctors say you require interventions for example a cesarean section, give them room to take care of you properly. It is the hardest thing to address because our cultural and religious values can be hard to deviate from, especially because there are doctors out there that practice bad medicine, so it is a tough call. Ultimately trust your instincts as you pray and have faith in your beliefs.
  8. Your insides are actually more important as your outsides! We need to retrain our society. People invest so much money on cosmetics and fashion to improve the way they look on the outside as opposed to beautifying the inside. If people realize how much the way you take care of your internal is reflected on the external. If you put the right nutrients into your body, your skin will glow, your hair will shine and you wouldn’t need to spend half as much money on these creams and weaves and so on. A beautiful person is a healthy person and that should be all of our goals.

Can emotions make you sick – Part 1

Can your emotions make you sick – Part 1?

Most Africans believe the spiritual can affect the physical and according to current research and thinking, we may have been ahead of the game. Medical practitioners are beginning to recognize the mind-body-spirit connection and are factoring this into provisions for therapeutic care. Increasingly alternative medicinal practices are being adopted or at least included into regimens of care.

Traditional Chinese medicine has long since recognized the role of emotions in the health of the body and scientific research is now backing up these beliefs. According to the Chinese, anger, grief, fear, worry, shock and even joy are all emotions that can lead to disease if excessive.

Anger is considered the worst emotion of all as unresolved anger can do immense damage to your bodily functions. It also includes resentment, frustration, irritability and rage. It can not only affect the person manifesting the emotion but also the community around said person. A Yale university study showed a strong link between anger and heart disease, including an increased risk for sudden cardiac arrest and death.

Anger and Rage
In moderation, anger can be healthy. When expressed appropriately and resolved it can be positive, protecting the individual from being abused etcetera. However when one allows themselves to let their anger go unchecked and the person becomes enraged for a prolonged period of time, manifesting in physical and/or emotional violence, it can destroy the body over time as well as relationships which are also necessary for a whole healthy life.

Hidden anger
Suppressing anger is not the answer either because when anger is expressed quickly and within reason it can actually help the individual feeling anger to release the emotion, however when it is suppressed and not discharged, it can fester and grow and even transform emotionally into depression.

Chinese medicine asserts that headaches, hypertension and stroke are as a result of unresolved anger issues. And many doctors are now taking a holistic approach to caring for their patients. They address the hypertension by prescribing pharmaceuticals, they instruct the patient to monitor their diet and add exercise to their daily routine, but they also address the patients emotional health by collaborating with health care professionals that work in that area.

How do we curb excessive anger?
1. By practicing active relaxation. When we find ourselves losing control, we should stop and take a deep breath. At this point if we are still angry, we should take a few minutes to monitor our breathing, exhaling and inhaling deeply and focusing on this deep breathing until the intensity of the emotion subsides.
2. If you are in the midst of an argument that continues to escalate, give yourself permission to step away from the situation and collect your emotions. If you are dealing with a partner who doesn’t understand, verbalize your intent to discuss the matter further but inform them that at this moment you need some time to process and control your emotions.
3. Do something physical. Anger is sometimes described as pent up energy, imagine the pictures you have seen of anger represented by a person who has steam coming out of his nose and ears. Doing something physical like running or playing soccer will release that pent up energy and allow you to address the situation rationally.
4. Develop a plan for addressing the situation. A lot of anger comes from a feeling of powerlessness, by developing a plan you regain your sense of power and as such can proceed without losing your temper.

We should all be mindful of our emotions, because it appears they can indeed make you sick.

Watch for Part 2 in the series which will feature the effects of grief and sadness.

What to do when life sucks…

Sometimes life really sucks! And I don’t believe it is a reflection of how little or how much you are praying and I am not prone to concede that every valley in life is some attack from some unseen or inhuman enemy; I think that sometimes, regardless of our best efforts to the contrary, quite frankly, life sucks.

And what’s more, it’s necessary.

Just like the earth needs the rain to fall and the sun to shine in order to remain in balance, I think things happen to us for a reason. Sometimes it is because we are too lazy, or indulgent or ….(fill in your own blanks) and we have a lesson to learn to move us out of that place that is less than good for us and other times, it happens because stuff just gets out of order and life needs to reboot itself?

While I believe in the power of prayer and the power of speaking the manifest word, I also know that sometimes despite our praying and hoping, things don’t go quite right.

And that sometimes hurts like the dickens.

I am practicing a new strategy. When something happens that is beyond my control that takes me to a sad and frustrating place, I pray. Well sometimes first I cry, then I pray and then quite frankly I may cry some more. But I don’t let myself wallow. I allow myself a short amount of time to grieve over my dashed expectations and then I get on with the rest of my life that I can control. And then I find that first of all, dealing with things that work and that I can work, helps me reconnect back to my joy and there is strength in joy. Prayer helps me hand over the problem and work my faith and I am learning this that when I don’t know what to do, be still.

This can be applied to anything…
Say your marriage is going through a rough patch…in spite of all your efforts. I was reading about a woman whose husband seemed to have just changed overnight. I can only imagine her angst. How her heart must be broken…but what are you going to do? The man will go about his business whether or not you collapse into some dark hole of despair. Acknowledge it sucks, pray about it and focus on the things in your life that work and bring you joy. Your children, your passion, *if you don’t have one, well here’s a wonderful opportunity to get one*
At that moment the general consensus would be to react so life can stop sucking. However reacting out of pain can make a bad situation worse…(I could tell you so many stories, from my personal bank of stories…My usual MO was not revolutionary but reactionary…but God help me, new year, new me…I still find myself falling into old patterns though but oh well, every day, I’ll keep trying) so my new philosophy is don’t react, act on other things and leave that sucky, painful thing alone, until you are strong enough and clear enough to see it for what it is and if there is a solution to be found, well it is only when your vision is no longer blurred by tears that you will be able to see it.

There are times when things happen that you simply can’t deal with at the moment. Things that you can’t figure out how to handle. Like a difficult question in a test you many need to move on to other questions and answer those and come back to it later. Sometimes you just have to compartmentalize for your own good.

We all have problems but when a problem is too big to handle, it can be tempting to let it take over your whole life. You are running from pillar to post for a solution, when sometimes the best solution is time. Sometimes like a wound that needs to heal, there is nothing you can do but wait and manage the pain while the body does what it needs to do naturally. Sometimes we need to do that in life. Put it in a box. Close the door on the problem for a while.

Have you ever seen a person who doesn’t know how to put problems away? The problem becomes their whole life and before you know it it defines them. They spend all their time obsessing about it. And even prayer can be a form of obsessing, if you are constantly praying and wailing about it and it takes over your whole life, then it can be an obsession and it is not healthy.

We are more than the sum of our parts and as such we must learn how to put things in their place. Simply said, sometimes life sucks and you can’t deal at that moment. So I say, put it in a box, wrap it with prayer and go handle the things you can deal with. Start a new business, start a blog. Go to the gym, do something powerful for yourself and connect with your joy and sense of strength and then when you are ready, go back to that box, and open it up and deal, because finally…you can.

PS…it’s a theory in progress. Right now, I myself, am headed to the gym, and then I am cleaning out my closet, finishing the final touches on my new non fiction book and discussing various opportunities with amazing women…As I write this, I have placed the box in the corner and wrapped with a prayer bow and I will wrap it again just to be thorough…and then I am done…soon, and very soon a solution will come to me and…I too will say I can.

Don’t lose your hair like Naomi

Naomi Campbell has worn straight extensions over her naturally kinky hair for several years. Experts say this may have permanently damaged her natural follicles. Marilyn Sherlock, from the Institute of Trichologists, which represents hair loss specialists, added: ‘It looks like Traction Alopecia, hair loss caused by the use of extensions.’

Traction Alopecia occurs when the extensions pull on the natural hair causing it to break. It usually affects the hairline just above the forehead or the sides, where the hair is weaker. It can take between three months to a year for hair to grow back in moderate cases, but if the pulling continues the hair will never grow back and the only option is a hair transplant.

Traction Alopecia damages the dermal papilla and hair follicle by constant pulling or tension over a long period. It often occurs in persons who wears tight braids, especially “cornrows”, weaves and other styles that lead to high tension, pulling and breakage of hair.

This condition is most common in black women and men who braid their hair too tightly. It can be reversible if diagnosed early, but may lead to permanent hair loss if it is left untreated for a protracted period. Hair loss is often in the frontal and temporal regions, but also depends on the hair style. With those who wear cornrows, the area most commonly affected is that adjacent to the region that is braided.

Traction Alopecia can also occur due to overprocessing of the hair. Chemical treatment of hair with dyes, bleaches, relaxers or straighteners disrupt the keratin structure in a manner that reduces hairs tensile strength. The hair can become fragile and heavy fall out can occur with brushing or combing.

The use of thermal or chemical hair straightening, and hair braiding or weaving are examples of styling techniques that place black women at high risk for various “traumatic” alopecias.

Studies show one in seven children and a third of women who have these hairstyles suffer hair loss caused by Traction Alopecia.

The key to stopping Traction Alopecia is detecting it early. Hair styles that put unnecessary strain on the hair root must be changed for “looser, more gentle hair style. Women who suspect they may be vulnerable to Traction Alopecia should take action immediately to change their hair style and see a trichologist.

Unfortunately, no medical treatment is available to reverse late-stage Traction Alopecia. Hair grafts have been identified as the only practical solution.

So ladies, we need to think of the health of our natural hair while wearing extensions, give your hair a break…let it breathe..let your natural hair out…after all its all yours.