Today, 36-year-old Jade Devis’s hands are full between diaper changes, walks and cooing her newborn son. Devis is juggling what she calls her gift: motherhood.
“My baby boy is my miracle child,” Devis said. “It is surreal to remember that my pregnancy had an element of extraordinary fear. I am blessed when I look at my son, and I cannot ask for more than that.”
Devis says she is still in awe of his existence and the fact that her only child is healthy — an unknown possibility throughout her entire pregnancy. She remembers thinking during her pregnancy, “What would happen to my baby, and if he did make it, what would happen to me?”
In March 2019, Devis noticed a large lump on her breast that was hard to the touch. She saw a physician in Pomona, who sent her to a radiologist. That radiologist said the lump was likely a symptom of the pregnancy. But Devis said she wasn’t satisfied with the answer and asked for a biopsy.
“If I had ignored it, I would have been dead,” Devis said.
The biopsy confirmed her fear: she had Stage 2 triple negative breast cancer — one of the rarest forms of breast cancer. Her doctor at the time told her that she was too early in her pregnancy to guarantee giving birth to a healthy child. Her doctor said if she wanted to keep the baby she would need assistance from a specialist.
“I did not know how I felt about the pregnancy until I was told I should not continue my pregnancy,” Devis said. “That is when something rose up inside of me — I wanted to keep my baby because I would not allow a stranger to tell me my child’s fate.”
Devis immediately had to undergo a lumpectomy. Although she was fearful that going under general anesthesia would affect the baby, she was reassured there were nerve blockers to help protect the baby. The surgery was successful.
Knowing that she was a single mom on this journey, Devis searched for a provider who was compassionate and equipped to handle her condition. She found herself at Loma Linda University Cancer Center under the care of breast cancer specialist Gayathri Nagaraj, MD.
She learned that this was the beginning of her journey — she would need to undergo several rounds of chemotherapy because of the triple negative nature of her breast cancer, which has a high risk of cancer recurrence in other organs.
“Going through chemotherapy is tough for anyone, and we do our very best to support our patients in every way we can at Loma Linda University Cancer Center,” Nagaraj said. “In Jade’s situation we had to be doubly cautious and alert to ensure the safety of the patient and the baby. I am extremely glad to be working with an amazing team who all came together to make this possible.”
Devis had one of the best teams of care at Loma Linda University Health that included a pharmacist, dietitian, nurse, social workers and high-risk obstetricians. Loma Linda University Health breast cancer team nurse navigator Amanda Edwards went above and beyond to make sure Devis had the support she needed to continue her treatments and keep Devis encouraged throughout.
Edwards orchestrated the unique team that would support mom and baby to make sure both Devis and her child received the best care that would ensure their survival and wellness.
“Many patients come to our hospital asking for us to just treat the cancer,” Edwards said. “What they do not know is that they’ll need more support on their journey. That’s what makes Loma Linda University Cancer Center unique — we take a multidisciplinary approach to making all of the patient whole.”
Devis gave birth to a beautiful, healthy baby boy, Bradley, at the end of July of 2019, thanks to the orchestrated care at Loma Linda University Cancer Center. Devis finishes her final rounds of infusion therapy at the end of November, but she’s grateful to have her son. Her doctors are confident she will be cancer-free at the end of her treatment.
“Loma Linda University Cancer Center team gave me more than my son,” Devis said. “They picked up my spirit and rejuvenated my soul.”