Nobel laureate and elder statesman, Wole Soyinka, has narrated his experience battling prostate cancer which was diagnosed in 2014 when he went for routine medical examination.
Soyinka who said that cancer is not a death sentence, noted that battling the disease has been uncomfortable but easy.
In an interview with the BBC at his village in Ogun state in south-west Nigeria, he acknowledged the crucial role his wife played in the process, saying the disease was discovered in its early stage so it was easy to control and treat.
According to him, the doctor told the wife to ensure he followed through with the treatment because he felt he, “wasn’t going to be a very good patient”.
Soyinka further said there is no shame in having any disease, adding that cancer is not a death sentence but required willpower to be victorious.
He said, “She just put her head on the steering wheel. I said start the car nah. She just sat there like that. I said, ‘don’t worry, we are going to fight this together.”
“It hadn’t yet gotten to the stage where it was not reversible and so gave us a number of guidelines. I say us because he wanted to make sure that my wife made sure that I followed it. He sensed that I wasn’t going to be a very good patient so he spoke to her most of the time rather than to me.
“Mine for me was an easy ride, uncomfortable in many ways but for me, but it is painless.”
“There is no disease in the world in which any human being need be ashamed.
“Cancer is not a death sentence, it is a labour of willpower. Some hard labour is involved but ultimately, you can be victorious.”
Soyinka further revealed that he used a form of advanced technology, “proton therapy”, to treat the disease.
According to him, it is a shame that people travelled abroad to seek treatment when the technology is available in Nigeria.
He continued, “The options, I compared to other treatment I know about and I have seen in operation.”
“And I don’t see why that kind of treatment or similar treatment should not be available. I don’t understand why there should not be a choice.
“I don’t see why people have to go to Canada, Europe to receive treatment which is affordable in this nation, it is a shame.”
“I wish, in fact, I spent more time in this very environment, that in itself I think answers the requirements of human health. It could be purely psychological, it doesn’t matter. But, it’s a feel. The body feels its environment and responds accordingly,” he said.
“I don’t go to the gym and I do not jog. I look at people who are jogging on the streets, some of them…they look ridiculous.
“But I believe that my normal active life is more than sufficient. At least, if I feel sluggish, I take a walk. If I feel very very sluggish, I take my gun and go in the bush and go hunting, not all theses artificial skyscrapers reaching towards nowhere. That is not my idea of home.”