I fought cancer while pregnant with twins

 
 
 

Jade Wyngaardt had a good life. She was 27 years old, with two children and a burgeoning career. And then she found a lump in her left breast. She put off seeing the doctor for two months, despite guessing what it was. The same day as her appointment, she received the dreaded confirmation with a biopsy: it was cancer. Wyngaardt chose to have a double mastectomy as a precaution, but before surgery, she had a strange but familiar feeling. Wyngaardt was on birth control and had already started her cancer treatment, but what should have been impossible was her reality – she was pregnant.

Wyngaardt’s cancer was abnormal and hormone sensitive. Being pregnant put her and her unborn child’s life at risk, so she chose to terminate. As Wyngaardt was rolled into surgery for her double mastectomy and termination, her doctor informed her they had run out of OR time and could only remove her affected breast. A few days later, she went again to terminate. But the sonographer informed Wyngaardt that she was in fact pregnant with twins. She could no longer go through with her decision. “I was so ready to fight for them,” Wyngaardt says. And fought she did: through depression, through treatment, and through the loss of her breast, opting to keep her right one to feed her babies. “With one breast, I was like, ‘What monster is this?’” she says of her body. “I didn’t appreciate my body for what it was doing for me, fighting cancer and carrying twins.”

After stopping treatment, Wyngaardt gave birth to Judah and Kenya. Through the tumultuous turn of events, she found an inner resilience. “I discovered this strong mother,” Wyngaardt says. “I was inspired by her.” Today, she is cancer free. As she raises her family and continues her career as a businesswoman, Wyngaardt recognises that life is not simply a matter of fate. “Our choices define our journey,” she says, “and our journey defines who we are.”