I’m proud to say I am a survivor after 20 years I am still alive and healthy. I live strong !
Living strong with cancer
I am Themba Nyandeni I’m 30 years old, I am working for AIG Insurance as a learner on their learnership programme for people
living with disability. I have one leg - my other leg was removed in1993 at the HF Verwoerd hospital which currently know as the
Steve Biko hospital in Pretoria.
When I was nine years old I experienced some pain on my right knee but just like any other kid I didn’t pay much of an attention. I
thought it was just a pain and I didn’t even mentioned it at home but, as time went on the pain became stronger and mostly in the
morning and my parents noticed that I was limping because sometime it was too painful and when they asked me, I told them that
my knee was painful and they thought maybe I just hurt it when we were playing it was nothing serious. As days went by the pain
moved to upper part of the leg and it was getting stronger.
According to my mother she said she noticed that as I was growing the other leg was not growing which meant my legs were no
longer the same size and that’s when it started to be more painful.I couldn’t walk any more - that’s when they took me to Piet Retief
hospital in 1992 (I was living in Mpumalanga at that time).
I spent some few months there and then I was moved to Nelspruit Hospital where they did some tests before I was moved
to Baragwanath hospital. At that time my family didn’t know where I was because my mother had signed some papers authorising
the hospital to do whatever it took to make me better, so as I was being moved she didn’t know what was happening any
more because during those times we had no phones. They used to write to her but sometimes she wouldn’t get the letters and
when I got to Baragwanath that’s where they discovered that I had cancer and it was bad. After some few months and after
some few surgical operations, I remember my leg was full of stitches when I got to Pretoria.
At Pretoria they explained things to me but to be honest I didn’t get a thing they were saying - all I heard was that my leg was
going to be removed but they couldn’t do it without my mother being present so they had to trace her since it was urgent.
According to the doctors the cancer was about to reach the upper part of the body and they said I could die. They got hold of my
mother through her employer. When she got there I was too excited I didn’t even had time to be scared , they booked me in
and the surgery went well and they placed me on the treatment programme to make sure that I was cured – and here I am today,
I’m proud to say I am a survivor after 20 years I am still alive and healthy.
I live strong !