Jayvan Janse van Rensburg from Vereeniging, Gauteng, is only six years old but he’s had 50 surgeries so far – all in an effort to save the little boy’s leg from amputation. Jayvan suffers from a rare bone cancer and was diagnosed three years ago.
His mom, Carin (40), is struggling to cope with it all. This is the third tragedy to befall her in recent years. First, her husband was murdered in August 2015 in Drie Riviere, Vereeniging. Then came Jayvan’s cancer diagnosis, and now the battle to save his leg.
Apart from the many planned surgeries, Jayvan’s also had to undergo several emergency surgeries. Last year, for example, the screws in his left leg broke. This happened shortly after a part of the left fibula – one of the two bones in the lower leg – was transplanted to his right leg. Shortly after that, he was admitted to hospital again when the plate in his leg broke.
Recently, Jayven had another painful surgery and Carin says, as always, it broke her heart.
“Doctors used screws to attach a plate to the outside of his leg. It’s incredibly painful – my heart breaks each time I look at him,” Carin says.
“Simply put, the situation is as follows. There’s only a small piece of femur (the large bone) – about 2,7cm – left in Jayvan’s thigh. Below the knee, there’s only about 4cm of bone left. The rest was removed because of the cancer. A small part of the bottom bone has now been transplanted into his thigh, and the screws will hopefully join the two parts in the hope that the bone will eventually knit together.”
But this is probably the last effort to save his leg. And if it doesn’t work, the only thing left to do is amputate.
“It’s been almost two years of waiting – that’s all we can do. Waiting for good news, waiting for any news – waiting, waiting, waiting. We’re just going to have to stay hopeful that it’ll work this time.”
As far as she’s concerned, Carin says amputation is the last resort.
“It won’t be a standard amputation – the leg will be amputated from just below the buttock,” she previously told YOU. “It’ll change his life forever. He won’t even be able to wear a prosthesis. I know he’s in pain and I know it’s incredibly hard for him but as a mom I have to keep fighting until there are literally no other options left.”
Carin says Jayvan is despondent and she feels helpless. The only thing she has is the hope that her son will have a “normal life” soon.
“Last night, I got so emotional. I looked Jayvan in the eyes and said, ‘Jesus wouldn’t have given you this leg just to take it away again.’ And I absolutely believe that. I must believe that God will provide a way.”
But the road is long and some days Carin struggles to stay positive. “But I can’t lose hope because then he’ll lose hope too. I can’t. Of course it’s extremely hard. We’ve travelled a really long, really bumpy road to where we are now. But every morning you get up and you go on. You have to; you don’t have a choice. What else can you do? I must fight for him.”
Despite the pain he’s in, Jayvan himself is an inspiration to Carin. “He’s a real little soldier. I’d never be able to cope the way he does. Each day, he tries harder than the day before. There’s still a lot of rehabilitation and pain ahead, but having God by our side makes it so much easier.”
The future is uncertain. Previously, cancer molecules were detected in Jayvan’s lungs. And though doctors reckon they haven’t grown or spread, he’ll have to be tested again later this month. And then there’s also the long wait to see if his femur grows back.
But in their home, there’s always hope, Carin says.