“You have won, you live and you love. You are showing everybody how valuable they are and how fantastic life can be.” — These are the words of a reader of Torsten Koehler’s book after the presentation of his work in his home country, Namibia.
In his thirties Torsten discovered a change in his testicles. He was worried and went to the doctor. Diagnosis: cancer
He was lucky since he could be operated right away. After receiving chemotherapy, he was saved from death. Yet then the real fight for life started: he lost his zest for living and, fell into deep depression – a typical reaction for cancer patients. The cancer had upset his positive equilibrium.
However, Torsten Koehler, who was working as deputy principal at government school, sought an alternative method of dealing with his problems: he gave up all secure living and started off on a long journey – around the world and back to himself. He spent two years on this endeavour. At the same time he undertook an intensive, spiritual examination of the eternal question concerning Life and Death. For him that was the most decisive step on the way to healing.
In a humorous and sensitive manner, Torsten Koehler depicts his fate with a lively, succinct inflection. He recounts how he discovered the cancer and why he brought his sperm cells to the sperm bank in Cape Town. He deals openly with his thoughts and emotions, relates the reactions of his friends, family and not least, his students, who confronted him without reserve and in doing so, gave him enormous help. (Rohnstock-Biografien, Berlin, Germany)
Diagnose Hodenkrebs – Wie die Krankheit mein Leben veränderte (German Version)
Wenn Sie die Nebenwirkungen der Chemotherapie und die anschließende Depression schilderten, litt ich mit Ihnen, und als Sie sich auf Weltreise begaben, wurde ich, ehrlich gesagt, etwas neidisch.
Vor allem die tiefen Einblicke, die Sie in das Wesen der Depression eröffnen, in den langen zermürbenden und schließlich erfolgreichen Kampf, sich aus deren Ohnmacht zu befreien, waren für mich persönlich ein Gewinn. Es ist mutig, dass Sie so offen darüber geschrieben haben. Vielen Dank dafür! (Stefan Strehler, Lektor bei Rohnstock-Biografien, Berlin)
Ich war wie gefesselt, total fasziniert und auch emotionell hin und weg. Ich saß da und mir wurde dann erst bewusst was Du für ein Krieg gewonnen hast. Du hast gewonnen, Du lebst und Du liebst. Du zeigst allen Menschen, wie wertvoll sie sind und wie toll das Leben sein kann. (Nadja Schlusche, Windhoek, Namibia)
Ich hatte gerade am Wochenende in Deinen Notizen über Deine Zeit mit dem Krebs gelesen. Da ich im Moment im Job ziemlich unter Strom stehe, haben mir Deine Gedanken geholfen, auf den Boden der Realität zurückzukommen und festzustellen, was eigentlich wichtig ist im Leben. (Stephan Garbe, Hannover)
Website: Diagnose Hodenkrebs
Comments on my book
As you described the side-effects of chemotherapy and the depression that followed, I suffered with you, and when you started your travels around the world, I must admit that I was a little envious.
Especially the deep insights which you allow into the essence of depression, the long nerve-racking and finally successful struggle to free yourself from its helplessness, were a personal gain for me. It is courageous that you have written about it so openly.
Stefan, Editor at Rohnstock-Biografien, Berlin, Germany
I often felt strongly drawn to the statements and emotions of the author. I felt exactly the same after my illness. Not only the diagnosis of testicular cancer changed my life, this book did that as well. The openness of the author is remarkable and helpful.
Torsten Koehler is an empathetic and courageous person who is prepared to speak out candidly about the experiences of his illness, and who gives everything to assist others. This is one of the most important books that I have ever read. (Probably the most important!)
I recommend it without reserve to every person who has had a similar experience.
Hannes, Cancer patient – Nürnberg, Germany
This past weekend I happened to read some of your notes about your time with cancer. My job is rather hectic at the moment, and your thoughts helped me to focus on the facts again and to realise what the really important things in life are.
Stephan, Hannover, Germany
I was captivated, totally fascinated and emotionally touched. I sat engrossed and only later realized what a battle you had won. Now it is clear to me why you are as you are. I only got to know you long after your struggle. But I have often wondered why you think like you do, why you see things so positively and how you treat other people. You simply live differently and you see things differently; you deal differently with humanity (irrespective of person or age). Now I understand a good deal more.
You have won, you live and you love. You are showing everybody how valuable they are and how fantastic life can be. You are an example to us all.
Nadja, Friend, Windhoek, Namibia
This book robbed me of my sleep. The simple style (the short paragraphs probably a contributing factor), ensured that there was no room for boredom. All the phases – the realization, the blank fury, the despair, the relief, the ordeal, the “face lifting” and the gratitude deeply moved me. What especially fascinated me was the fact that you are still “searching”: whether religion or an answer. It is reassuring that this word does not cause a panic attack in you any longer. In this book you have dealt with the deepest frustrations of the soul and that is remarkable. Added to this is the honesty with yourself and with your fellow human beings. My wish for you, dear Torsten, is that this book of encouragement will be read by many people. Always look for the bright side of things! And when there are none? Rub the dark until it shines!
Auguste, Former colleague, Windhoek, Namibia
Torsten, I’ve never ever read a book before where tears of sadness and laughing out loud is so close together!
Mandy, friend, Cape Town, South Africa
You are my strength. I am incredibly proud of you and I thank you for what I have learnt from you. I hope we can reciprocate in some way in the future, if not personally then by spreading your work further… until next time, Master!
Karsten, Former student, London, Great Britain
Dear Torsten – your book, with the beautiful Namibian stamps on the envelope, arrived today. Ulla immediately grabbed it from me, got into bed, twice fetched herself something to eat and only put down the book when she had finished. Then she showed me the pages where you had quoted us: really excellent. Despite the serious content and the drama, Ulla often laughed because you wrote with such humour. This contrast underscores the quality of the book. We have the utmost respect for your achievement and your courage. You are one of those people who greatly assist those who find themselves in the same or similar situation. We are going to our book seller right now to order more copies so that this book will become more widely known in Germany. Respectfully yours and sincere greetings
Günther, Friends – Lüdenscheid, Germany
Dear Torsten – I have also read your book: awesome! Why? Because you do not write in the way one should write, because you include all your strengths and your weaknesses, your suffering and experiences. We wish your book great success; it should be of great help to all those who have similar diseases.
Kind regards and hoping to meet you soon.
Ulla, Friends – Lüdenscheid, Germany
Yesterday evening I read through your book in one go and I was most impressed. I became teary-eyed at the part where the children lovingly took leave of you (“Good that I had you” and “You were my piece of luck”). It is great that you have regained the energy for your career.
Kind regards. The next reader of your book will be my son, Fabio.
Angelika, Acquaintance, Lugano – Switzerland
I simply could not wait, so I took a few hours out of my work day to read your book. And as you probably know, I am no bookworm. After starting to read I found myself engrossed in all that you underwent and how you rose above your trials. I found the book super. Never before have I read a book in one sitting, but this one I simply could not put down – I had to finish it. The words on page 98 had special meaning for me; several words and sentences still remain with me. I am glad that I have read this book. I am giving it to my father next. It will do him a world of good.
Shaun, Former student, Windhoek, Namibia