Last hope to save young South African cancer patient’s leg

2019-01-17 17:25
Jayvan Jansen van Rensburg. PHOTO: Facebook

Jayvan Jansen van Rensburg. PHOTO: Facebook

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Little Jayvan Janse van Rensburg has been bravely battling cancer for the past three years. In that time, he’s survived setback upon setback. Now, doctors are saying a recent operation to his right leg is his last hope to prevent amputation.

Carin Janse van Rensburg, Jayvan’s mom, says the news was a tremendous shock.

She’s had to watch her world crumble around her in the past few years. Her husband was murdered in August 2015 in Drie Riviere, Vereeniging. Then Jayvan (5) was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer. And now he might lose his leg if the operation ultimately proves unsuccessful.

Speaking to YOU on the telephone on Wednesday, Carin told us her family’s been through hell since Jayvan’s emergency leg operation last year.

“The screws in his leg broke about five or six months after they’d transplanted the fibula from his left leg into his right leg,” Carin says.

During the operation, Jayvan’s cancer-riddled right femur had to be removed.

About three months after the emergency operation Jayvan had to be re-admitted to hospital – this time because a steel plate in his leg had broken.

“Late in December we were at home one day when Jayvan suddenly screamed, ‘I can’t feel my legs!’ We took him to hospital the next day, only to find out the plate had broken a second time.

“He has almost nothing left of his right leg,” she says.

If the three-hour operation that took place on 11 January this year – during which Jayvan’s fibula in his right leg was put in place of his femur – proves unsuccessful, amputation will be their only choice.

“We can’t amputate his leg, we just can’t do it. He’s five years old. And it wouldn’t be a regular amputation – the bone will have to be removed right where it joins his hip. It’ll have life-long consequences, to the extent that he won’t even be able to wear a prosthesis.

“I know he’s in pain and I know he’s struggling but as a mom I have to keep fighting until there are truly no more options left. I have to stay strong, we have to stay strong – and the Lord keeps us strong.

“I’m fighting for Jayvan, for his future. Just before the operation, he said to me, ‘Mommy, please don’t let them take my leg . . .’ And when he was in so much pain after the operation, he said, ‘Mommy, maybe [amputation] is for the better.’ But it’s not. And we’ll keep fighting.”

Should the operation ultimately prove unsuccessful, Carin is considering finding help in America. In a full amputation – such as is being considered for Jayvan – cutting-edge technology is allowing for a small part of the lower leg to be implanted in the hip, which would at least allow Jayvan to wear a prosthesis.

But for now, Carin’s really hoping it won’t be necessary and that this operation will be his last.

“There’s a long road ahead. He’s in a wheelchair and has a lot of pain. The only thing we can do now is hope and pray this is the last operation. That my little tubby tummy will get the chance to have a normal childhood.”

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  cancer  |  health
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