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19 September 2007

Part 1: This is my journey

At the age of 21 Darius found out that he had brain cancer. This is his story.

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My name is Darius Coetzee (21). Up until now, my life was all about socialising with friends, and meeting new people.

I also enjoyed playing sport and was very involved in a number of sporting activities. I served on the Student Council for Boland College and was responsible for the Sport Portfolio, including cricket, rugby, netball, hockey, volleyball and many others. I also coached the under-seven rugby team of the Gymnasium Primary School in Paarl. Working with young children is something I really enjoy, and meeting their parents is very encouraging.

One morning in August, while my team was playing a rugby match in Somerset West, I suddenly began to feel unusually cold. It was then that I suspected there was something wrong with me. My chills developed into a headache. But it was not like any ‘normal’ headache. It was a sudden, pounding pain. I felt as if my head was going to explode.

The second time I experienced the same type of headache, was when I served as the referee at a rugby match, in which my team played.

Tuesday, 23 August 2005
My girlfriend invited me to join her on a trip to Gordons Bay. She has family living there. At about 6 pm, on the way to Gordons Bay, while my girlfriend and I were having a great conversation, I began to feel dizzy, my vision became blurred, and I lost consciousness. Later, my girlfriend woke me. I could remember nothing. This was the first time I experienced a blackout, but I blamed it on fatigue.

Later that evening, at about 9 pm, while I was drinking coffee, I experienced another sudden blackout. Once again, I was woken up by my girlfriend, and I assumed I was just extremely tired, and that after a good night’s rest I would feel fine. However, that same evening, I had a third and a fourth blackout. Once again I thought it was fatigue and eventually I went to bed.

24 August 2005
We woke up early in the morning and set out on the road to Paarl. At home, I slept until it was time for me to get ready for college. I arrived at college at 8 am, and must have lost consciousness, as I woke up an hour later in the casualty ward at the hospital. My father and my girlfriend were by my side. I could not remember anything from the recent happenings.

During my time in hospital, I continually experienced blackouts. A number of tests were done during my stay, to see if I could, for example, walk straight, and to see if I was shaking.

Later that morning, I was transferred to Paarl Medi-Clinic and underwent brain X-rays. The only conclusion that the doctors could come to at the time was that I had been experiencing epileptic seizures, and that I should stay in the hospital as a precautionary measure.

(Health24, November 2005)

Read more:
Part 2: This is my journey
Hierdie storie is ook in Afrikaans beskikbaar

 
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