Torsten Koehler is a testicular cancer survivor and proud Cancer Buddy.
He is also the author of the book “Love your Nuts – Testicular Cancer touched my life”
– you may like to suggest that your sons and grandsons read this article.
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 programme – my health and emotions on a roller coaster, surgery, chemotherapy, self-destructing thoughts, depression and turning into a miserable person. I slowly lost my energy and I 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 was running out. I wrote down the places I would love to see before I die. The fear that cancer may return was constantly on my mind. I gave up all my secure living. I resigned as a teacher, sold my car and backpacked the world for two years in order to come to terms with the cancer. It was a long journey – around the world – and I undertook an intensive, spiritual examination of the eternal question concerning Life and Death.
During these two years, I travelled to all the destinations that I had put on my bucket list (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, ….) all of this because I wasn’t sure if I would survive the cancer. However, travelling to all the places on my bucket list was the best thing I could have or have ever done. Give wings to your desire! Have dreams and aims in life and fulfil them! My zest for life returned. I eventually returned to Namibia and started teaching again.
Today I’m a happy chappy! I am 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!
I left Namibia to live in the most beautiful city in the world – Cape Town! Surrounding myself with a beautiful environment nourishes my soul!
After being a couch potato for 20 years … I started running in 2008. I lost 13kg. Four years later, I finished the Comrades Ultra Marathon (called the “ultimate human race”) of 89km. Feeling healthy and being fit added to my self-confidence that posing naked – okay covered with nuts – for testicular cancer awareness is not a problem.
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 went to the doctor in time and was saved at the age of 16! Just that makes it worth standing up for cancer and talking balls! 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 would like to achieve or dream about!
I’m alive! And definitely kicked cancer in the butt!
Check your nuts and don’t die of embarrassment!
If you are interested in buying Torsten’s book, please contact him:
Torsten is also a Cancer Buddy. Anyone wanting a cancer buddy for any type of cancer can phone 0800 033 337 or go to www.cancerbuddies.org.za
How I survived breast cancer
How I survived pancreatic cancer
You matter until the very last moment of your life