FRANCISTOWN: Besides fighting for his political life, newly elected Moselewapula councillor Reuben Ketlhoilwe was also firing on all cylinders in parallel do-or-die battle against cancer.
From 2004, the Botswana Congress Party (BCP), and now Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) councillor saw the emergence of a new challenge in his life that he fought with at his disposal.
“It started off manifesting like a mild ailment that ultimately morphed into fully-fledged cancer. It was only after several tests were conducted that it was confirmed I had cancer,” Ketlhoilwe reminisced to Mmegi this week.
In the beginning, he literally had no idea as to what could be the source of his health troubles.
Upon realising that his health was deteriorating, his nephews and nieces took him to Gaborone with a view to aid him to access better medical care. They wanted him thoroughly tested to identify what was ailing him.
“I was very sick and couldn’t travel by public transport, so one of my nephews transported me to Gaborone. Whilst I was home waiting to go and see a medical doctor that I collapsed after I was troubled by incessant hiccups.”
He was taken to the Gaborone Private Hospital (GPH) where he would later regain consciousness at the accident and emergency section.
After thorough examination, the medical doctor who attended to him confirmed that he was suffering from cancer of the colon, which was at an advanced stage, whereupon he was referred to the appropriate medical doctor.
He was informed that the only way to contain the disease besides using chemotherapy and radiation was by going through surgery.
“Look, I didn’t have any knowledge about cancer and I felt completely traumatised as I wondered what was going to become of me,” he says, indicating that he was warned that he may not even survive the operation.
Another life threatening cancer treatment operation was done in 2006, which was also successful followed by 13 months of treatment. After this treatment in particular, Ketlhoilwe thought he had healed only to have a fresh attack from the aggressive cancer in 2010.
“It returned and it was very strong and threatened my health. Because the medical doctors knew what they were combating, they managed to fight it. At the time, I was taking treatment and the medical doctor told me that the cancer had spread in the rectum, and colon and I was told they needed to do a major operation and I obliged.”
He took his chemotherapy and radiation in Gaborone and indicated that there is nothing as painful as the chemo.
“With cancer it’s not the operation which is painful, but the chemo as it burns the whole body system and kills the appetite for food.”
Whilst on the treatment, the
“But, because the cancer had blocked the urinary canal, affected the rectum and bladder they had no choice but to fight the cancer through an operation although I was feeling very weak by then,” Ketlhoilwe narrates, indicating that this was the worst operation ever where he was forced to call his family for consent.
His doctor had indicated that there was no hope for recovery at all given his condition.
“It depended upon me to give the final word to decide the fate of my life, whether I wanted the operation or not. I opted for the operation,” the lanky Ketlhoilwe narrates indicating that his weight was at the leanest.
Worse, upon finishing his treatment, another cancer scare emerged and this time around it was the strongest of the previous cancer attacks. It had hit his rectum, colon and bladder.
He was quickly referred to GPH where the medical doctors, after doing the pertinent tests, wondered if he would make it.
Even worse, the colons were leaking and it was very bad requiring high-level attention. He remembers the last operation taking over seven hours.
Whilst admitted to Nyangabgwe Referral Hospital, his sisters who attend The Shadow of God International Ministries church took a decision against his will and appointed with the caretakers of the church Prophet, Daniel Morupisi and his wife, Apostle Thandiwe Morupisi to pray for him.
Although as a member of the Zion Christian Church, referred by its initials of ZCC, he was against being taken to a ‘fire church’, he quickly experienced change in his health as he could not walk and speak at the time.
“Ke ile kwa tota ke sule (I was dead). I would return to my good health shortly and once healed as I am now, I returned to Prophet Daniel and thanked him for my healing before I returned to my church,” he says, declaring that he has fought all the battles about his health and won them all.
Ketlhoilwe is confident that God had kept him going after all scares to his life for a good reason. He is now healed.
After winning a council seat at the Moselewapula ward in a by-election, he has vowed to serve the people very well as he has now come to overcome many battles that threatened his very life.