My story: How life changed for Itumeleng Morole after a battle with anal cancer

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Solomon Mondlane, Itumeleng Morole, Tumelo Mokoena and Lemogang Nkalai
Solomon Mondlane, Itumeleng Morole, Tumelo Mokoena and Lemogang Nkalai

When we first met Itumeleng Morole, she could barely speak, was in constant pain and battled to hold back her tears. 

She was going through a lot - she had been diagnosed with stage four anal cancer after she thought she had piles and she was essentially ready to die. 

Then the power of Ubuntu changed her life. After she shared her story, a stranger reached out to help and she was also put on treatment at a health care facility in March.

Now Itumeleng (32) is vibrant and living instead of focusing on death. 

She tells us how her life has turned around. 

“I am feeling great now, I have accepted that things have changed permanently because today I have a colostomy bag,” she tells us.

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Itumeleng says that soon after speaking with Drum, she was put on treatment at a health care facility in March, which wasn't an easy journey.

“There were days were I just wanted to die because of the bad treatment from some nurses at the hospitals where I was admitted. I had lost hope because the people I was getting treatment with would just die. I was honestly scared and ended up being diagnosed with depression,” she says.

But with the support she received from her friends and family, she was able to soldier on. “I really thank my mother, aunts, this friend of mine, Matshidiso, and We Are Fathers, they were there to comfort me even when I wanted to give up. It was hard for them too as much it was hard for me. There were my strengths even at the time I really wanted to give up.”

Itumeleng Morole
Itumeleng Morole alongside members of the non-profit organization, We Are Fathers.

With the donations that were started by a perfect stranger, Solomon Mondlane she says she was able to afford necessities required by her new life.

“It has helped a lot with food, I didn’t have clothes to wear because I was now skinny, I had to get colostomy bag because at the hospital there were running low, so I had to get colostomy bags more than anything in the world and I was on a diaper as well and had to buy diapers,” she says. 

The money also helped with transportation costs for her mom to visit her at the hospital. 

A lot of things have changed in Itumeleng's life, including now living with a colostomy bag. How is she adapting to it?

“It changed my life because it saved my life and secondly [it changed] my perspective towards cancer. Often when they tell you, ‘You have cancer’, you think, oh, that’s it. I’m going to die.”

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She says there are still times that she feels that she doesn’t want it [the bag]. “But I had to accept that it is permanent and there is nothing that I can do about it."

She's also adjusted to the fact that she cannot lift heavy objects right now. 

“Even in your love life, it changes, you are in a relationship with someone and then the person just leaves because you have a colostomy bag, it changed everything. I had to now go back to being single, which is not a problem but having to tell someone that you have a colostomy bag, and it is permanent, it is not an easy thing.”

She’s happy now that she is able to perform tasks she used to do before she became sick. although finding employment is not easy.

“I didn’t go back to work, I'm replaced [but] I'm searching and I'm not choosy, I do anything now even cleaning,” she says.

Solomon Mondlane saw Tumi’s story when she shared it on Facebook.

“I am not related to Solomon in any way, he saw my first status on Facebook when I said I was diagnosed with cancer. I did not know what to say when I received an inbox from him saying that he will campaign for my journey, I was surprised how a stranger can raise funds, he came through for me.”

Itumeleng Morole
Itumeleng Morole

Solomon is grateful to Drum for telling Itumeleng's story. "We thank the magazine for being proactive and realizing that someone's life was in danger, and they could be a solution if we act on it and also advise the medical practitioners to quickly assist Itumeleng."  

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