When Thulani Sibisi, a former Two Oceans Marathon Champion, was diagnosed with Stage 3 prostate cancer back in 2012, he was shattered, but knew he had to make life-changing decisions to survive the life-threatening disease.
“It was very emotional and I did not want to believe it. As soon as they told me [about the diagnosis] and explained the stage that it was, I thought my days were numbered.
“All of a sudden, I had to carry a catheter that assisted me to urinate and had to sleep with it, it was very frustrating.”
A catheter is a tube used to empty the bladder and collect urine in a drainage bag.
Sibisi (69), of Orlando in Soweto, took strength from the support he got from friends and family. He decided to make a decision that would impact his sexual activity.
He also had to leave his job as he felt that his condition was not understood.
He chose to get an orchiectomy which is a surgical procedure to remove one or two testicles. Fortunately, his partner has supported him since he first experienced severe symptoms of prostate cancer.
“I had symptoms but I didn’t know anything about prostate cancer. I was experiencing burning urine. Sometimes I had difficulty urinating. It reached a point where I couldn’t urinate at all and I also could not walk.”
“My son and partner took me to Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital, that is where I was diagnosed in 2012 and had the surgery nine months later,” says Sibisi.
After the surgery, Sibisi committed to eating healthy and exercising. He participated in the Two Oceans and the Soweto marathons.
Sibisi had won the Two Oceans Marathon in 1986 and being back in the race after the surgery was one of his highlights.
“This thing [prostate cancer] is not just about taking treatment. You take responsibility of how you live your life, how you eat and what you drink. Small exercises like walking help me,” advises Sibisi.
He added that menshould go for screening from the age of 40 and should ask their local clinics to test them even if they do not have symptoms.
Sibisi is very grateful to the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital workers who proved to him that prostate cancer is not a death sentence.
“Thanks to those ladies, under the leadership of Sister Mosase Mashabane and the doctors that work with them who saved my life and others.”
Sibisi volunteers to raise awareness through the Prostate Cancer Foundation of South Africa. The foundation, which is a Non-Government Organisation aims to minimise the impact of prostate cancer on South African men.
Did you know?
June is Men’s Health Awareness Month. The purpose of Men’s Health Month is to heighten awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among men and boys.
For more information about the Prostate Cancer Foundation of South Africa log on to www.prostate-ca.co.za or call the Prostate Cancer helpline on 084 283 3982/ 083 616 0162