Celebrity designer Quiteria Kekana on his battle with cancer – 'I will beat this'

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Fashion designer Quiteria Kekana is undergoing chemotherapy to fight his illness.
Fashion designer Quiteria Kekana is undergoing chemotherapy to fight his illness.

He's having a bit of a tough time. But he's determined to rise above this. 

Fashion designer to the stars Lebogang Quiteria Kekana (38) has been diagnosed with multiple myeloma.

He tells Drum that due to his ailing health, has had to move back home to Braam Fischer, Soweto under the care of his mother and siblings. 

“It is one of the toughest decisions I have had to make, but for me to recover I needed to be where I feel loved and there is no judgment,” Quiteria says. 

His decision to move back home was also due to the high cost of treatment.

“The costs for good health care brought a lot of financial strain on my business. I was not willing to lose staff again, after the effects of Covid-19. So, I have kept the studio open and allowed the staff to continue to service our clients while I try and get my health together,” Quiteria says.

“I sold some of my valuables to make ends meet and have been assisted by close friends in helping with medical bills, but more help is still needed,” he says.

“It has been tough, but I believe I will recover and continue to make beautiful garments. I will beat this. I have beat almost every obstacle in the past.” 

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The fashion designer says he started getting sick not long after receiving backlash from social media after allegedly body-shaming comedian Coconut Kelz.

“I started feeling ill from the stress. I had body aches and inflammation on my legs,” he says.

“I kept consulting with doctors and after many tests, I learned that I have multiple myeloma,” Quiteria says. 

He has had to make lifestyle changes.

“I have always eaten well, but I have been experiencing fatigue, so I’ve had to watch my diet closely. I have also been drinking Kangen water, which is ionized water with vitamins. I have been trying to exercise. But most importantly, I started with my journey with chemotherapy on 2 July,” Quiteria says.

“It has not been easy adjusting to it, but if it means going through it to recover, then I am ready. But financially it has not been easy. But we are hopeful,” he adds.

Last year, Quiteria opened up about attempting suicide six times due to depression.

“I have seen it all and I believe there is more reason to live,” he says. “I want to live. I am grateful to see another day.”

What is multiple myeloma?
Multiple myeloma is cancer that affects plasma cells, which are part of your immune system. Healthy plasma cells help to fight infections by generating antibodies that recognize and attack germs. In multiple myeloma, cancerous plasma cells accumulate in the bone marrow and crowd out healthy blood cells. Instead of producing helpful antibodies, the cancer cells produce abnormal proteins that can cause complications. 
What are the signs of multiple myeloma?  
The signs and symptoms can vary and, and early in the disease, there may be none. The signs include bone pain, especially in your spine or chest, excessive thirst, loss of appetite, nausea, constipation, mental fogginess or confusion, tiredness and fatigue, weight loss, and weakness or numbness in your legs. 
Treatment for multiple myeloma 
If the multiple myeloma grows slowly and isn't showing signs and symptoms, the doctor may recommend close monitoring instead of getting treatment immediately. For those who require treatment, several options are available to help control the disease. 

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