Making Lemonade From Life’s Lemons [with Maryanne Michael]

Host      Hello everyone. This is Bekeme and you are listening to season 4 episode 2 of the Good Citizen Radio show.  The show is brought to you by CSR-in-Action and funded by ACT Foundation which is a grant making organization established in 2016 to support local, national and regional non-profits working in the areas of leadership, entrepreneurship and education and that is why they fund the Good Citizen radio show because the show is all about good behavior and leadership; we believe that every Nigerian Is a born leader. You don’t have to believe it yourself, we believe it for you and that is why we have this conversations around our responsibilities and duties as Nigerians because Nigeria doesn’t only owe us, we owe Nigeria. Today is February 14th and on this day we see people spend lots of time together, they share gifts and share love and it is usually associated with red hearts and flowers and loving messages whether true or not but beyond this show of romantic affection, today is also a time to show appreciation to families, to friends to the less privilege and most importantly to God. Speaking about love at a time like this, I know for sure that the one thing most people love about Nigeria and Nigerians is our prowess in football. I remember when I went to the Maldives  about 11 years ago for my honeymoon I remember that anytime they ask me where are you from and I say that Nigeria, they exclaim great footballers Jay-Jay Okocha and they were very excited.That’s the same across the world when you think of Nigeria you think of football and what we do with football, and did you know that Nigeria was actually the first country to receive a gold medal in the Olympics for football in the 1966? Yes we have done good and we have made history lots of time. Now whilst lot of people are enjoying this moment we do remember that there a lot of people who are less privileged to actually participate in this enjoyment and happiness because they are weighed down by one experience or the other, we all know that there are obstacles in our everyday lives. It is part of life, it can’t be helped but what do you do when you get down? You pick yourself back up and you try again. In our moment of adversity what do we do? There is a proverbial phrase around making lemonade from lemons which literally encourages optimism and positive attitude in the phase of adversity. We must always remember that we will face challenges but what we make of this challenge is what is important. Betty Charles Forbes who is the founder of Forbes magazine reiterate that message of perseverance and say that history has demonstrated that the most notable winners usually encountered heart breaking obstacles when they triumphed but they won because they refused to become discouraged by their defeat and it is something that struck me as I showered this morning.It struck me that more successful people in today’s life where not the people that people thought would succeed when they were young.  Think about it that person that you see now doing so, just think about it well, back then in school where they the people you thought where the ‘tushest’ people who would come out but guess what it is in retrospect you would realize that they probably had some greatness in them and I remember watching the Netflix biography about Bill Gates I think it’s called “Inside Bill’s Brain” and he was a reclusive child, he was reticent, he liked to have his way, he was weird because at a time when people think about computers he wanted to be secluded and do his thing but now those are the things that makes him great and different. Now we have a very special person in the house today who roundly covers all of this messages, she is a verified social media influencer and entrepreneur and a survivor of Arteriovenous Malformation (AVM). It is something caused by an abnormal relationship at some point between the brain and arteries and fistulas. A visit to her Instagram page would tell you she is always full of fun and she is always in high spirit despite what she is had to go through as documented on her Instagram page and she has never let any of this put her down  she is a beacon of hope to millions across the world a she continues to show strength bravery and grace in the face of adversity. She has  found love and has refused to let anything get her down and it is this indomitable spirit of hers that have brought her unto this show today. Please let’s welcome Maryann Michael

Maryann welcome to the show.

Maryann Thank you

Host       I personally reached out to you myself I was very excited when I saw your page because I know a lot people who have gone through far less than what you have been through and they have literary given up, they say oh no it’s not possible because I am not exactly like the next person then it is not possible I should be surviving in this wicked harsh world of ours. How have you done this Maryann?

Maryann  When I had the whole thing, it taught me endurance, it thought me how to be patient. I didn’t get my happily ever after in one day it took me years, and during those time I kept on being strong and positive minded telling myself it would definitely end one day

Host      When did this start?

Maryann It started late 2013, I was about 19. it started as a small withlow and then it grew, when it happened as a typical Nigerian we didn’t just go to the hospital we started self-medication but with time it became serious and we realized it was not something we needed to treat on our own, that was when they journey of getting to the hospital started and the first time I went to the hospital we had to run through series of scans that was when I learnt about the condition.

Host      How long after 2013?

Maryann That was in 2014, because the result took months to be ready, when it came out and I saw AVM. I was like what is AVM so I took my time and used Google, to tell you the truth I cried that day because it wasn’t what we get to hear every day so I cried asking why me because I happened to be the only girl so why not one of my brothers why me, it was that painful.

Host     Now you have had to have a limp amputated, when did you know this had to happen?

Maryann  I went through series of surgeries. I think I had 9 surgeries in total over 6 years because it has to bea staged surgery since it has to do with my veins you don’t have to wait they just cut off immediately since it is the process. At a time it was like a trial as they had to keep trying different things, they didn’t want to remove the whole limb at first, they wanted to try and correct the malformation but after series of surgeries it looks like it was not going to be corrected so  I was advised to take it for but I didn’t want to at first but with time I knew it was needed to I requested for it to be done.

Host     Did you have to go to a specialist hospital?

Maryann Yes, I was supposed to go to a specialist hospital but the doctor was unavailable, so I ended up going to military hospital in Yaba where the surgery was done. It had to be done by a specialist because it wasn’t about amputating the arm but making sure the whole thing wont reoccur, the reasons why I had that much surgery was because after they corrected it, it comes back again, so they had to be very sure that when they amputate from this level they make sure they are cutting the whole socket off.

Host      So in all of this how was your family in all of this? What gave you the strength was it from within you or from the love? I see that you share a special love with your father, you are constantly dancing together and I was like oh God look at what this woman is putting this man through, so yes what was it?

Maryann  Naturally I am an happy person, even my friends in school know me; everyone was like why Mary, when the whole thing happened my parents were very supportive, they had my back but my dad didn’t want me to have an amputation, because he was like why would my daughter have one arm so he really cried, that was one of the reasons I wanted to change my mind because I didn’t want to see him break down as he wasn’t having it easy, and seeing someone as old as my dad cry because of me I felt really bad and that was what stopped the amputation from happening earlier. But with time I had to make them understand that it’s better to have me like this than not have me at all because the whole thing got really bad and it was looking like I might not make it in the next month because the rate at which I was bleeding became very serious,The major problem then was that I usually bleed and I cannot place my hand on a table or when I bring my hand down I would start bleeding.

Host    So is there some ways you can express to our listeners the enormity of what you had to go through because I did go through your page and after seeing the fun part I went all the way back and I saw pictures of you trying to wrap your hand and at a point you were literary pouring into a nylon bag, it was so scary I couldn’t watch it till the end, was this what happened daily?

Maryann  Talking about it now I think I want to cry because it gives me that flash back and I start to shiver and remember this was what I had to go through.Those times were not funny then as there was no day I had to go out without taking drugs like I became addicted to pain relievers.There were times I had to go out withbandages because I can bleed out anywhere so I would just excuse myself and use the toilet, it was that bad, sometimes you don’t just keep wallowing in self-pity. I just kept encouraging myself that this would end one day.

Host     It too surely pass. now Maryann not only battled this and overcame, I also saw you celebrated one year of the amputation and you also found love. We would come back to that conversation but we would take a short break but before we do let’s remind you that because it is the season of love our partners Ryanne John is actually giving out nice discounts on the lashes, so if you buy up to 5000 – 10000 worth of lashes you get a full make over done for free and if you buy product worth of 5000 you get your lash extensions done for free, remember that we need to look nice and fly as a good citizen and because of this as well Hype and Steam our partner is here for it, they have given 70% off of all items on their website including the recently launched misguided items from the UK just visit hypeandsteam.com.ng You can visit Ryanne John’s Instagram page or just walk into number 7 Fatai Awobeke street off Admiralty way Lekki phase 1 or you call 08093879239. You need to see us looking all fly in the show, if you want to look like us hurry now you know what to do.

So, we would go on a short break and we will be right back on the Good Citizen Radio show

                {break}

                And we are back on the show.We’ve been talking about all of the agony that Maryann has had to go through and despite all of it she not only helped us document but she found a way of rejoicing in it and I find that really encouraging personally because anytime something bad or nearly bad is about to happen I just think that what is this compared to what this young woman has gone through and despite all of this I did see you found love and it is my nice hunky Edo brother you came and took out of our hand, so how did you find your husband or how did he find you.

Maryann He found me, though I wasn’t looking out for a relationship then because I was already battling with my disorder so it was more like a friendship thing but with time it grew.

Host       Where was he?  He lived near you?

Maryann Yes, he lived near my parents’ house in Iyana Ipaja like he said he had been seeing me and all but I just saw him once.He started talking to me and encouraging me, although I felt because I have had series of heart breaks along my whole illness so the relationship thing wasn’t on my mind.

Host      The heart breaks that you had, do you think it was related to what you were going through.

Maryann Yes, one of the reason why I came out on Instagram, I have not really shared this but someone broke my heart.He told me directly when I first had my amputation not this major amputation, I had first had my thumb removed and I was feeling bad about the whole situation, I wasn’t strong enough, I needed someone to assure me that I still have you and all that but after the surgery the next day he told me he doesn’t see himself marrying an amputee, so I felt really bad and I cried so much that night and I wanted somebody to talk too, I wanted to pour out my heart, I didn’t want to do it on Facebook because I had a lot of friends on Facebook and some of them didn’t know what I was going through so I just poured out my heart on Instagram, as at then I didn’t have followers on Instagram I had like probably 54 followers and I locked my page but I was following one lady called Olori Ranti Ajayi I think she has a foundation so when I posted the whole thing she saw it and she tagged blogs and they started blogging about it, I didn’t even know it went viral until like the third day when my friends started calling and asking what happened to my hand, though I was going through all this, no one knew, I don’t shake hands, I don’t expose my hands

Host    It is the opposite now that you have had it amputated, even if the thing has a sleeve Mary doesn’t want us to forget and it is beautiful

Maryann The funny thing is I don’t even like long sleeves

Host     So now you have embraced it, embraced yourself, thank God you had that opportunity and it just tells us now that positivity does this for you and when you do have problems I don’t think that hiding it typically helps, somebody to talk to always helps and what you have done is to help take away the stigma as I can tell you for free you have helped take away the stigma that is associated with amputees and amputation, like I watched one and I was like this girl is so silly you brought out the arm and was see its soft like bread and was like oh God, the fact that you could do so and play about it and be happy and you celebrated the one year anniversary and all of that and you have a supportive spouse that allows you to be you is just amazing to watch and congratulations you have a baby and he is 2 months old right, so this now has turn to something of a job search hobby for you and Leon would be fine when mummy has to take time off and some of them are at work telling you go and feed Leon, but I am sure that you are doing a fantastic job so congratulations again  for your baby. So going back to what has transpired over time what would you tell anybody else who is going through this situation or a similar situation?

Maryann I would say worry doesn’t solve anything rather it increases the problem, we all have different cases we all don’t have the same experience but at least I can say I have an idea because I have had my own share and I would tell you that it will surely pass, just keep on being strong I know it is not easy to be positive all the time sometimes I cry and get tired but what matters is how you pick yourself up when it Happens just stay positive, what kept me this strong or brought me this far was positivity, I kept on believing like all this would end, God is seeing all what you are going through just keep on being strong, I have this positive mindset and again just be you. The way I am in school my friends would say you don’t act like someone that has one hand and I would be like how do people with one hand act? Sometimes make fun of your own self so that when they make fun of you it won’t affect you and also have friends who can be honest and plain with you, just be strong, keep going, do you, stay positive, it will surely end one day

Host      I agree, Thank you for sharing that, now Maryann when I had a really lo g day at work and I go to my bed and lie down one of the page I like to visit is yours, I don’t know social media like that but I know that 9 – 11:30 I just want to calm down after a long day and I visit your page because you have some really hilarious skits, your handle is Maryann4079 you need to check her out. How has this transformed your life? What opportunities do you see?

Maryann It has brought lot of opportunities because on Instagram there are lots of celebrities following me and I don’t even know, sometimes all these celebrities comment on my page and my friends would be like Mary you don blow! Recently I worked with Toyin Abraham In her movie the “Fate of Alakada” and then I and Cobhams also talked about stigma on people with disabilities,

Host      What other opportunities? Do you make money from these skits?

Maryann  For now No, but with time I will

Host    Oh yes, I love the confidence with which you speak, what other things do you see yourself doing

Maryann Having businesses, I want to do things that people think we cannot do. I know these opportunities will come.

Host     When you wake up in the morning do you see yourself as an amputee? Or Maryann this is another day to go forth

Maryann  I don’t even see myself as an amputee, sometimes I forget I have one arm I just see myself as the old normal me, in school if my friends are listening now they know that I play too much, I don’t see myself as any less any human being I still see myself as equal to anyone

Host    That has reflected very clearly and positively and that gives you the confidence that you need because every day we come out there we all face challenges whether we are amputees or we just lost a parent, we just still have to keep on mobbing and surviving, I think that is the essence of it, so in terms of love now Maryann, today is a love show the Good Citizen Radio show today the February 14th is focusing on love, do you have any plan at hand?

Maryann No, I have never cooked for my husband before.

Host      In Nigeria? Amazing! Why is that

Maryann He doesn’t want me to, it’s not out of pity he just likes cooking, he cooks what we all eat

Host       Wow that is fantastic so you want to cook for him this time?

Maryann  Yes

Host      Any special meal plan?

Maryann   Egusi soup with Pounded yam

Host       Are you going to pound that yam or you are going to buy an electric pounder

Maryann I won’t pound the yam, it’s possible but its stressful so I won’t do that

Host      Thank you Maryann you have literally  encouraged us and keep on doing what you do and I hope that you don’t forget why you started doing what you do, because it’s been a massive encouragement to people whether they are in chaos or not, it is just really refreshing I refer people to your page, we don’t know what anyone might be going through but you just need to encourage and inspire us and keep on being inspired, and I am sure that you have moments of downtime and I am sure that you do have people that you look too and every time you do feel that way you don’t feel the need to entertain us as well please do keep on being you, keep on inspiring young and old. Thank you so very much for coming on our show

Maryann Thank you for having me

Host     So guys you have been listening to the Good Citizen Radio show and Maryann. Maryann is an AVM survivor and she has done a great job out of it by remaining positive and not just remaining positive but getting a great deal of happiness and all of that, she is an inspiration. Just remember that we are still doing our giveaways on social media every week, we are giving out 5 eye lashes courtesy of our partner Ryanne John and three wristwatches courtesy of Hype and Steam just visit @goodcitizenng on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram every Monday to participate in the weekly contest and remember I haven’t given out my scandal wedge shoes in silver, it is still here so follow me @Bekemeo on Instagram and Bekeme Masade on Twitter to get a chance at winning those lovely shoes. Follow me tag 5 people to follow me and the good citizen radio show and you stand a chance to win that as Hype and Steam gave me that and I will give it to you, and Maryann as lovely as she looks was also kitted up by Hype and Steam. Thank you all for listening to the Good Citizen Radio show it has been an amazing time and I am your host Bekeme, the show happens every Friday at 8pm on Ifm 92.3 and it is brought to you by CSR-in-Action and partnered by Hype and Steam and Ryanne John and it is funded by ACT Foundation, have yourself a great evening and keep on enjoying your valentine.

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