My name is Marian Adejokun, I was diagnosed with a deadly, rare illness known as Stevens Johnson Syndrome (SJS) and Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis (TENS) back in January 2011. I remember as if it was yesterday… I was at college and told my teacher my eyes were itching me from there I went home and informed my mom and she told me to call the doctor’s office and I was told by the doctors to buy over-the-counter eye drops (Optrex). My mom administered the eye drops into my eyes and within 30 minutes, blisters started coming up under my feet and my whole body (pouring water on myself was excruciatingly painful). I normally have a high threshold for pain, but this was a different kind of pain; as if I was burning from the inside out. The last thing that did it for me was when my airways started closing up and I was finding it hard to breathe; that’s when I informed my mom to call the ambulance. At this point in time, I was unable to stand on my feet as the blisters had taken over the palms of my feet.
My initial thought was, “Oh this is just another ordeal and I will overcome it”, as I was born 4 months early and weighed 1 pound, I’ve faced various medical surgeries and ordeals, and have come through them all. Never, in a million years did I think all of my skin would peel off and I would end up in an induced coma due to this severe allergic reaction known as SJS. I was in the hospital from that January until March. Initially, the first hospital I went to, Croydon University Hospital, stated I had Swine Flu and put me in isolation. I was throwing up thick blood and blood was gushing out of my eyes due to the allergy I didn’t know I was having at the time. Later, I was moved to The Royal London Hospital thanks to one Doctor who was aware of what was happening to me. I was informed by my mom that I was induced into a coma due to the severe nature of the condition.
My mom (Aderemi Adejokun) is a single mother of 4 girls. I am the oldest and at this time when I was in a coma, my sisters did not see me, according to my mom. However, we had Pastors and friends who were constantly praying and encouraging my mom that everything would be fine.
I remember having an encounter with God… two Angels came into the room where I laid in a coma and they lifted me up to this desert-area place, I saw the light, but I couldn’t really see through it and I heard God’s voice say… Marian, “it’s not your time to die yet, what I want you to do is to go out into the world and reach out to the youth about the goodness in your life.” As soon as I heard this, I did just that, I informed my mom on a written piece of paper, although it looked like scribble as I was unable to communicate at the time. I ended up writing 2 published books, “My Life Is Not My Own” and “ReachOut2All.” As well as speaking globally about my story, to inspire, empower and draw the lost closer to Christ through my miraculous story.
Recovering from SJS has been an ongoing process as I’ve been seeing a dermatologist and an ophthalmologist at The Royal London Hospital. Having to use eye drops for the rest of my life to keep my eyes lubricated is crucial. I am so blessed that when I came out of the ordeal, I did not need to have a skin graft done or eye surgery. Where the tracheotomy was it closed up beautifully by itself. My skin has healed pretty well, but from time to time I do get blurry vision.
I remember not wanting to go out in public as I feared how people would perceive me. When a few months went by I felt more and more comfortable in my own skin and started talking about my story to inspire others by turning a negative situation into a positive one. On the bright side, I have new skin, fingernails, toenails, and hair like a baby! Now I share my story to inspire others and give them hope through their challenges. I turned a negative situation into a positive one. I started My Scars Tell a Story in 2020 this is a photography campaign by Marian Adejokun. Back in 2011 I suffered from a 1 in a million deadly allergic reaction to eye drops. My whole skin peeled off from head to toe and I was in coma for a month; this life- threatening medical condition is known as Stevens Johnson Syndrome.
💭Years later, I was literally looking at myself in the mirror and talking to myself about how my scars tell a story; this would be of encouragement to others who can relate to having scars and being ashamed of or hiding them because of feelings of low self-esteem.
In 2018, someone decided to compose a poem about my scars.
🔊Now in 2020, I have finally come to share this project which celebrates my scars of all shapes, sizes and stories behind them.
I would like this personal project of mine to first of all represent people of color; as I have searched online and don’t see myself.
Now I am more confident in showing off my scars to encourage children, women and men to embrace their scars, to love their skin and themselves.
Every image you analyse with your eyes has a story and this is when you start to articulate things differently about your body- and life’s adventures.
* Medical representation of diverse skin tones (diverse ethnicities) in this sector
💡Medical Presentation for Students and Professionals
💡Awareness on SJS
💡Promote body confidence & self esteem
💡Break stereotypes in the media & social media 🙌🏽