#Change4Cancer

Being fit in a way saved my life - Xolani Gwala

After a brave fight against colon cancer over the past nine months, Xolani Gwala is officially in remission and is recovering well.

Gwala sent shockwaves through the nation when he announced in September last year that he had been diagnosed with colon cancer and would be off air to deal with the medical challenge.

Gwala sat down with Azania Mosaka and said he is very very good. When asked how he felt he said the following:

I don't know how I am feeling, I must be honest with you, so much has happened, that I think it would take me a lifetime to understand what happened over the past year.

Xolani Gwala, Radio Show Host

But for now, I am good, I am healthy. So with cancer, it is a question of time and it will take time before I can actually say that I am cancer free.

Xolani Gwala, Radio Show Host

It will take probably five years, ten years even, and maybe 15. But at the moment, whatever the doctors set out to do in September last year when I was diagnosed with stage four cancer, they have achieved all of those goals.

Xolani Gwala, Radio Show Host

They are very happy that I am good to come back to work. I am very happy, I am strong and I am grateful. I am nervous and I am emotional.

Xolani Gwala, Radio Show Host

He adds that it was an extremely difficult time when he was diagnosed.

I remember I came straight from the hospital and I came to do that interview. Two weeks prior, I had had my first surgery, and I had lost so much weight and I was ill, I was really really ill.

Xolani Gwala, Radio Show Host

And I came with my doctor and we sat and he gave all the details about what was going on.

Xolani Gwala, Radio Show Host

He says he decided to speak out about his illness because a lot of people were asking what had happened.

And maybe just to take you a few weeks before, what happened was that I was feeling really tired. I think it was the second or first week of August.

Xolani Gwala, Radio Show Host

Feeling really tired, had a bit of a fever, nothing serious and it kept going, every day I was feeling really tired.

Xolani Gwala, Radio Show Host

And the programmes manager at the time advised him to take time off as it had been a really tough year.

I take the two weeks off, but I am still sick. Back and forth to the doctors, checking what is going on and they are saying to me, no it is a viral infection. I take antibiotics.

Xolani Gwala, Radio Show Host

Until my wife said to me, no listen you are seriously ill and I am going to take you to the hospital now. And I went, it was a Sunday, I get there, they look at me and say my temperature is almost 40.

Xolani Gwala, Radio Show Host

They asked me if I have been out of the continent recently, I say no and they put me in isolation immediately.

Xolani Gwala, Radio Show Host

The doctors did tests and by 6 o'clock that evening, they found out that he had cancer which they discovered in the liver first and traced it back to the colon.

He says that one of the saving graces was the fact that he is incredibly healthy and that is an important part of the journey.

They look at you and say listen, your cancer is so advanced but we look at your heart, it is top notch, we look at lungs and other elements.

Xolani Gwala, Radio Show Host

So because of that, we can take a chance with the disease. If you look at the picture (of the liver) I showed you, it is huge.

Xolani Gwala, Radio Show Host

The doctor who did the first operation has obviously been tracking the progress with my oncologist.

Xolani Gwala, Radio Show Host

The oncologist showed the doctor who did the first operation the picture of the liver.

The experienced surgeon says, wait a minute, is there anything left in this guy? Did we take everything out? Because he is looking at how big this thing is.

Xolani Gwala, Radio Show Host

But the reason why he was able to do that - because other organs are perfect because I was fit and they would be able to cope with the strain. And make up for the fact that you have taken out this huge part of the liver.

Xolani Gwala, Radio Show Host

So to be fit, in a way saved my life.

Xolani Gwala, Radio Show Host

Watch the full interview below and hear what else Gwala had to say...

Listen below to the full interview below...


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