YES, my one nut is fake, because the real one tried to kill me! I had testicular cancer in 1995 at the age of 30. That evening when the doctor came and said it is aggressive cancer that they have to remove my right testis the next morning was the moment my life shattered into a million pieces. Signing a form that says, “Removal of right testis”, was a nightmare!
I’ve been through the whole program – my health and emotions on a roller coaster: surgery, chemotherapy, self-destructing thoughts, depressions and turning into a miserable person. Slowly losing my energy and couldn’t really cope with my work, colleagues and friends anymore.
I made a bucket list when I was waiting for my results after the surgery because it felt like time is running out. I wrote down place I loved to see before I die. The fear that cancer returns was constantly on my mind. I gave up all my secure living. Resigned as teacher, sold my car and backpacked the world for two years just to come to rest with the cancer.
A long journey – around the world and back to myself. I undertook an intensive, spiritual examination of the eternal question concerning life and death. During these 2 years I travelled to all the destinations that I had put on my bucket list when I wasn’t sure if I will survive the cancer: Helicopter ride over Manhattan, active volcano in Hawaii, Golden Gate Bridge San Francisco, Macchu Picchu and the Lines of Nazca in Peru, Great Barrier Reef in Australia, Milford Sound in New Zealand, Glaciers in Southern Argentina / Chile.
Travelling to all the places on my bucket list was the best thing I’ve ever done. Give wings to your desire! Have dreams and aims in life and fulfil them! My zest for life returned. I returned to Namibia and started teaching again.
When I was still a biology teacher I always used one of the lessons every year to talk balls and make the boys aware. A few years later a former student of mine invited me for coffee just to say thank you that I made them aware. He said to me: “Because you made us aware I went to the doctor in time. You actually saved my life and I’m 16 years old!” Making a difference in one person’s life makes it worthwhile standing up for cancer and this energises me to talk “balls” as much as I can!
This incident with my former student motivated me to start a project in South Africa called “Love your Nuts – Testicular Cancer Education in a Nutshell”. My goal is to raise awareness of testicular cancer by educating communities about the ‘rarely spoken about’ cancer that often remains undetected in young adults due to the diverse society in South Africa, where cultural taboos, stigmas and lack of knowledge about the subject is plentiful.
Money raised with my project will be used to implement a cancer school program in all South African schools to make kids aware and educate them where to find help and how to support family and friends diagnosed with cancer.
Give Wings To Your Desire!
My aim is to make men aware of this young man’s cancer and I like to encourage cancer patients not to give up! Not only cancer patients! I like to encourage every person to give wings to their desire! Don’t give up on anything that you like to achieve or dream about!
Testicular cancer touched my life.
I left Namibia to live in the most beautiful city in the world – Cape Town! Surrounding me with a beautiful environment nourishes my soul! Today I’m not teaching anymore but do what I love to do: photography and design – I turned my hobby into my job.
Actually I don’t work anymore because a hobby is fun and it doesn’t feel like work! Within 2 years the Love your Nuts campaign which I’ve started on social media took off that I’ve resigned end of 2016 from my work as a graphic designer.
Now I’ve got the best job description ever: talking balls and saving lives!
I’m a living example that one can survive cancer – just because of early detection. Listen to your body. Got them? Love them. Check them!