A lump the size of a pea in her breast made a Woodstock woman face a choice no mother wants to make: put her babies’ lives at risk or terminate the pregnancy.
Jade Wyngaardt has had cancer twice since 2016, but this mother, wife and entrepreneur says she will continue to fight the disease.
Jade, 29, was first diagnosed with breast cancer in June 2016, after she felt a pea-sized lump on her breast.
She went to her family doctor who referred her to the Groote Schuur Hospital breast clinic, where medical tests confirmed she had cancer.
“I was devastated,” says Jade.
She started hormone-therapy treatment and doctors recommended a double mastectomy, but then Jade learnt she was pregnant and the doctors warned her cancer treatment could harm or kill the baby.
Jade, who already had two children at this point, aged 2 and 1, decided to go for the operation, but complications led to only one breast being removed. She was scheduled for a second operation to remove the right breast when she decided to have the pregnancy terminated.
Jade agonised over her decision to abort her baby and was looking for a sign from “God”. Then, at the abortion clinic, an ultrasound revealed she was carrying twins.
“That was my sign, I did not want to be part of the death of these babies,” says Jade.
Jade and her husband, George, did research on pregnant cancer patients before she had chemotherapy.
“I was going through this pregnancy. I felt nauseous and in pain, and this added chemotherapy made be nauseous, tired. I couldn’t eat and I was restless.
“She continued the chemotherapy till the eighth month of her pregnancy. In February 2017, she gave birth to healthy twins.
But her cancer fight wasn’t over. When she went to Groote Schuur in August this year to find out about reconstructive surgery, doctors found the cancer had returned to the area where her left breast had been.
Jade will go for a Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scan at Groote Schuur later this month to see if the cancer has spread to the rest of her body. If it has, she says, “there is no cure, they can only slow it down.”
Jade has made a lot of lifestyle changes because of the cancer. Fast foods and fizzy drinks have given way to a vegan, alkaline diet of whole foods rich in calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium and manganese. And she exercises daily.
She is also thankful for the support of her in-laws, Nicky and Peter Wyngaardt, who have also experienced cancer, and her parents Nafiesa and Mark Barron.
She says cancer is a battle of the mind and she encourages other cancer fighters to surround themselves with positive people – and buy a smoothie maker.
On her Facebook page, Jade Wyngaardt -Motivator, she shares her stories, talks with other cancer fighters, gives advice on healthy eating and exercising and tries to motivate all those following her journey.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.