We hear how Pitso Majoro found out he had prostate cancer and how his wife, Marupine, dedicates her life to care for him.
Pitso Majoro (81) lives in Soweto, Gauteng with his wife, Marupine. They have three adult children, two sons and a daughter, and one grandchild.
Diagnosed in 2016
In late December 2015, Pitso, then 77-years-old, complained about body pain, stiff muscles and insomnia. He also suffered urinary retention and constipation. Marupine rushed him to the emergency room. A urinary catheter was inserted and oral medication was prescribed. Five days later he was told to come in and get the catheter removed. But, when it was removed, he still couldn’t urinate normally.
A friend of Marupine suggested taking him to a urologist, which she did. On 8 January 2016, a biopsy was done, and a week later, it was confirmed that the grandfather had prostate cancer, which had spread to the bones. He was referred to an oncologist, as surgery would be futile due to the cancer being advanced, and due to Pitso’s age.
Multiple health scares
Unfortunately, in February 2016, Pitso presented with a deep vein thrombosis (DVT) in his leg. This is when a blood clot develops in a deep vein. It can be life-threatening.
So, warfarin, a blood-thining medication, was prescribed.
Once Pitso was well, he started docetaxel chemotherapy from March to June. Unfortunately, he then developed a subdural haemorrhage (bleeding that occurs outside the brain), caused by the warfarin and had seizures and landed up on a ventilator in ICU for several weeks. Thankfully, Pitso pulled through and was discharged.
Pitso then started his three-monthly injection, an LHRH agonists, which is administered by his urologist. He suffers with hot flushes, which is a side effect from the medication.
Antiandrogen tablets added
In the beginning of this year, Pitso’s prostate-specific antigen (PSA) started increasing. So, his oncologist prescribed enzalutamide (Xtandi).
Enzalutamide works in patients with resistance to conventional antiandrogen therapy, so it bypasses the resistance.
Since taking it from April, the 81-year-old is doing well on it. He still gets his LHRH agonist injections every third month.
Marupine, the caregiver
To this day, Pitso can’t remember anything that happened in hospital and now is very forgetful. He relies totally on his wife, Marupine. She goes with him to all his doctor appointments and has a little book that she writes everything down in.
“I make notes, so I can educate our two sons, who are 35 and 31. I have told them they need to start having prostate screening when they are 40.”
She goes on to say, “I have been married to Pitso for 41 years so I must take care of him. At times, it is hard, but I get my strength by praying. God gives me strength and patience.”
Pitso says he is feeling a lot better now and can urinate with no problems. Marupine adds he is moving around better. “I used to wash him by hand on the bed, but now he is able to climb in and out of the bath. He is also eating a lot now and he can kill you when he wants his food. But, I love him so much!”
That doesn’t mean there aren’t any squabbles, with Pitso saying, “Sometimes she likes to shout at me.” Defending herself, Marupine says her husband always wants to sleep so she shouts to get him up and moving.
Marupine says it was so good to be able to plan their second-born child’s wedding together. “We could sit down and get some advice from Pitso. It was so good to have him take part. Then, my son got married on 25 May this year, and we all celebrated as a family, with Pitso, the head of the house, with us.
TAKE HOME MESSAGE
Pitso’s story shows many things: firstly, early referral to an oncologist with Stage 4 cancer is important. Often, it’s more beneficial to initiate chemo and other new treatments early.
Secondly, doctors shouldn’t be ageist; chemotherapy can be beneficial in older patients, to improve symptoms, quality of life and provide the extra time so, they can be around for the special events in their family’s lives.
Lastly, the caregiver is often forgotten in the cancer journey. They play a very valuable role and always need love and support too. So, Marupine, we applaud you!
MEET OUR EDITOR – Laurelle Williams
Laurelle is the Editor at Word for Word Media and graduated from AFDA with a Bachelor of Arts Honours degree in Live Performance. She have a love for storytelling and sharing emotions through the power of words. Her aim is to educate, encourage and most of all show there is always hope. Write me: firstname.lastname@example.org