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False /oidc-signin/en-gb/ Convatec Group Contact Us Brasil Brasil United States (English) United States (English) Estados Unidos (Español) Estados Unidos (Español) Argentina Argentina Canada (English) Canada (English) Canada (Français) Canada (Français) Chile Chile Colombia Colombia Ecuador Ecuador México México Perú Perú Belize Belize Guyana Guyana Jamaica Jamaica Venezuela Venezuela Costa Rica Costa Rica Curaçao Curaçao República Dominicana República Dominicana Guatemala Guatemala Honduras Honduras Nicaragua Nicaragua Panamá Panamá Puerto Rico Puerto Rico Suriname Suriname El Salvador El Salvador United Kingdom United Kingdom France France Deutschland Deutschland Italia Italia Україна Україна België België Česko Česko Danmark Danmark España España Ireland Ireland Nederland Nederland Norge Norge Österreich Österreich Polska Polska Schweiz (Deutsch) Schweiz (Deutsch) Slovensko Slovensko Suisse (Français) Suisse (Français) Suomi Suomi Sverige Sverige Türkiye Türkiye Ελλάδα Ελλάδα Россия Россия Bosna i Hercegovina Bosna i Hercegovina България България Eesti Eesti Hrvatska Hrvatska Magyarország Magyarország Ísland Ísland Lietuva Lietuva Latvija Latvija Северна Македонија Северна Македонија Malta Malta România România Srbija Srbija Slovenija Slovenija الإمارات العربية المتحدة الإمارات العربية المتحدة البحرين البحرين مصر مصر ישראל ישראל ایران ایران الأردن الأردن عُمان عُمان قطر قطر پاکستان پاکستان لبنان لبنان الكويت الكويت المملكة العربية السعودية المملكة العربية السعودية Suid-Afrika Suid-Afrika العراق العراق New Zealand New Zealand 日本 日本 Australia Australia India India Malaysia Malaysia Singapore Singapore 대한민국 대한민국 中国大陆 中国大陆 中国台湾 中国台湾 ไทย ไทย Indonesia Indonesia Việt Nam Việt Nam Philippines Philippines Hong Kong SAR China (English) Hong Kong SAR China (English) 中国香港特别行政区 (中文(简体,中国香港特别行政区)) 中国香港特别行政区 (中文(简体,中国香港特别行政区))

Meet Sandra, me+ Community member

a boy in a wheelchair on a dock by a body of water ;

It’s hard not to be inspired by Sandra Khumalo.

But you’d expect that from a Paralympian rower, mother of two, and full-time patient support and training assistant at Convatec in Johannesburg, South Africa. As well as training nurses and doctors on how to use GentleCath™ with FeelClean Technology™, her role is also to “help inspire and motivate newly disabled people in rehab centers”, she says.

The calm reassurance Sandra shares with people comes from her own experience. At 22, she was in a car accident that left her paralyzed from the waist down. “It was very scary at first”, she says of learning how to use an intermittent catheter. “Back then, I couldn’t see myself where I am today. I felt it was the end.”

In some ways, however, it was just the beginning. Sandra was introduced to rowing and did not look back. “I found my legs again in the rowing boat.” She excelled as a champion rower and qualified for the South African Paralympic rowing team for the London 2012 Paralympic Games and then for Rio 2016, where a familiar problem re-occurred.

She’d been using reusable catheters and had been struggling with regular urinary tract infections (UTIs), one of which she got two days before she was due to race. “My body got very weak and, I couldn’t perform how I wanted to”, she says. “I managed to raise myself enough to finish 10th.”

It was a bitter result for Sandra, who had ambitions to rank in the top 5. True to form, though, she wasn’t deterred and finished 5th in the World Championships in Sarasota, Florida, the following year. Around the same time, Sandra was introduced to something else she says made a big change in her life. After experimenting with other hydrophilic catheters, she found GentleCath™ with FeelClean Technology™“It was like, wow, I had less pain, and my problems with regular UTIs were gone.”

She also found another passion – her work supporting people at the beginning of their own self-catheterisation journey. “I am so passionate now about touching and changing people’s lives. I want to help them experience the same change that I did in my life. A good day for me is to walk out of a hospital or rehab center and leave people with hope and focus on what they can still do, regardless of the change they’re going through with their bodies."

"Seeing the smiling faces is what motivates me every day."

a man rowing a boat ;

I'm Sandra and I'm in love with my life.

“I’m a very busy person and a very social person.” On a normal day, Sandra rows for 2–3 hours before going to work, then she says, “I go home to be a mommy. It’s very important that I can fully focus on what I need to do.” For Sandra, that means not worrying about when and if she needs to self-catheterise. When she started cathing, she says she often have to guess when to do it. 

“The longer I delayed, the more I might have a leak. I was getting embarrassed and tired of being self-pitying.” Sandra has since started using GentleCath™ with FeelClean Technology™ and, she says, has implemented a regular routine that gives her the confidence to get on with life.  She catheterises 3–4 times in the day – before she gets in the boat, before she goes to work or a long meeting or social event, and before she goes home, in case she gets caught in traffic and twice at night.

"It has really taken away the stress and has changed a lot for me." It's tips such as these that Sandra shares in her work supporting people who are new to cathing.

“I tell above anything else, to be kind to themselves. With preparation and planning, you can get back to the life you want to live. Catheterising is not easy at first, but I advise people to keep going, and it gets easier. By taking control of your situation, you’re helping yourself to avoid other complications.”

Such complications, she says, can range from urinary tract infections (UTIs) to potentially embarrassing social situations. “At the end of the day, when you prepare well, nobody needs to know you’re using a catheter. It’s only you who knows unless you chose to tell somebody.” Sandra, however, encourages people to speak up and talk to people close to them about self-catheterisation when the moment feels right. “It depends on the environment and the person, but I think it’s important for people to know about it. There's nothing wrong with catheterising – it is just a different way of passing urine!” Telling people close to her also helped her feel calmer and more confident.

“For me, I feel it’s good to talk about it. I think the more you talk about it, the more you open up, the more you heal.”

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Adjusting to cathing can be tough, with a range of practical, physical and emotional challenges. You don’t have to figure it out alone.

Speak to one of our friendly product specialists today. 

Call 0800 587 7560 (Monday - Friday: 9AM - 5PM).

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