Family, Health

She had aggressive cancer while pregnant. Yet, against the odds, this happened.

By Jen Wang , 8 March 2024

I had experienced severe morning sickness during my first pregnancy, but with my second baby, I vomited on average 30 to 40 times a day. As a result, the skin in my throat tore and I vomited blood. I was constantly dizzy and could not eat, drink, nor even swallow my saliva.

Just 5½ weeks into my pregnancy, I was losing weight and weak.

My gynaecologist diagnosed me with HG – Hyperemesis Gravidarum – the most severe form of nausea and vomiting in pregnancy. In some cases, it could even lead to death.

Inexplicable pain

When I was 14 weeks pregnant, I started having an ache in between my right ribs and hip. Then came stabbing pains that caused me to collapse to the floor.

I was rushed to the A&E three times, but the doctors could not figure out what was wrong.

The pain became worse each day until I could barely walk. I even had trouble breathing.

“Rock solid”: Jen relied on the care of family and friends as she endured the ravages of advanced cancer.

My husband suspected it was kidney stones, but my urologist found, through MRI, not a kidney stone but a 4cm by 3cm tumour pressing onto my ureter.

My right kidney couldn’t drain out urine due to the blockage and was swollen. This was causing the stabbing pains.

I was advised to remove the tumour via surgery.

I was so afraid. My family and I came together to pray to God for help.

Two surgeries

I ended up having two procedures. The first was to place a stent to drain out the urine from my right kidney.

I was wheeled out of the operating theatre after 2½ hours, but the stabbing pains continued.

Both my urologist and gynaecologist felt it best to remove the tumour. Hence, the second surgery.

It was to last 2½ hours but dragged on for six hours.

The doctors finally informed my family and friends that only two-thirds of the tumour could be removed. The rest of it was too gummed down to my ureter.

They also went on to say the tumour was an advanced cancer that had spread from elsewhere in my body.

My family wept in secret. The next day, my husband told me: “They only managed to remove part of the tumour. It has been found that you have cancer, and it is very aggressive.”

Death at my door

I was strangely calm. Before becoming a stay-home mum after my son was born, I worked at the Singapore Cancer Society. The topic of cancer was not taboo to me.

I had two malignant tumours – the primary tumour in my colon and the secondary, in my peritoneum – and was given three months to two years to live.

As I thought about death and what I should be doing in preparation for it – like writing a will and filing our documents – I felt great sadness for my children: Joshua, my firstborn, and Jill, my unborn child. Imagining them having to fend for themselves without a mother just broke my heart.

I felt sorry for my husband as well as my parents-in-law. We had been married for merely three years. This must have been so difficult for them.

I felt sad for my parents. As a young parent myself, I could finally understand how intensely they loved me.

I felt the anguish of my siblings and their spouses as they cried out to God for help.

So many nights I cried myself to sleep.

Tough choices

Being pregnant with advanced cancer was so rare that there was no data to help in making decisions on a treatment plan. 

Medically speaking, it was most sound to abort and seek treatment immediately, but my doctors all respected my wanting to keep my baby. I was insistent, because God had placed it emphatically on my heart: “Do not lay a hand on this child.”

Before we could proceed to make any of the many decisions needed, I was readmitted into the hospital for excruciating stabbing pains in the back.

A second MRI showed that the tumour had grown back in size just days after the surgery. It was yet again attacking my nerves and muscles.

That same day I was introduced to an oncologist. He told me that it was his duty to advise me to abort my baby for the best chance of my survival. Even though he gave me the brutal information without mincing his words, he teared when he saw my baby through the MRI.

I could tell that he had a lot of compassion and I knew in my heart that God had selected this doctor to journey with me.

“Do not be afraid”

All the choices offered to me were a metaphorical cup of poison:

  1. To remove the tumour again to buy time might result in the loss of my baby; or both of us could die.
  2. Chemotherapy was not guaranteed to reduce or stop the tumour’s growth. The chemo drugs could kill or deform my baby.
  3. I could choose to wait till my baby was born before embarking on treatment.

The third option was the worst, as the cancer was very aggressive.

I broke down and prayed to God to tell me what to do. Amidst all the well-meaning advice, what was most important to me was what He wanted me to do.

He sent me a prayer intercessor from my church, whom I did not know personally, to give His instructions. She visited me in the hospital with two messages. The first was a command from a verse in the Bible:

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. (Joshua 1:9)


“Rock flower”: God sent word that Jen’s baby would thrive despite the harsh conditions she would be put through.

The second was a revelation. God had told her to tell me that my baby would be like a “rock flower” and would thrive despite the harsh conditions she would be put through.

I decided to go through chemotherapy.

A second messenger

The next day, God sent another stranger to visit and reassure me. She shared that she was diagnosed with stage 1 ovarian cancer whilst pregnant eight years before, and that she had undergone chemotherapy.

She showed me a picture of her son who had grown into a healthy and energetic eight-year-old.

It took my breath away to realise how God was leading me every step of the way.

Still, when there’s pain, time goes by slowly. Every day I would sit or lie on the bed, shuffling about to try and get comfortable.

I was glad to be alive but at times the horror of the suffering was very discouraging. I was heavily dosed with pain medication but sometimes it was hard to focus on what I was thinking or saying because of the excruciating pain.

I experienced many mixed emotions. I wanted to sleep the pain away, yet I was anxious to spend each waking moment with my son and family.

I read my Bible hungrily. In God’s Word I found the strength to breathe and endure the many medical procedures performed on my weakened body.

My nurse’s testimony

God then sent an encourager – a nurse. She was an Indian national who had come to Singapore to work. It was here that she heard about Jesus and became a Christian.

Her entire village back home ostracised her for converting, and when she diagnosed with stage 3 ovarian cancer, they did not offer any support.

It was her church members in Singapore who rallied around her and kept praying for her.

Miraculously, before mapping out a treatment strategy, her doctor put her through another scan and found that the tumour had completely disappeared – before they could even start chemotherapy or offer surgery!

After this, her father decided to follow Jesus, and so did about 70 people in her village.

She told me with a smile: “Don’t worry; even if Satan wants to hurt you, he needs permission from God!

I was filled with hope and joy.

Fighting on

Chemotherapy was physically taxing because of the side effects like nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, mouth sores and nerve damage.

Emotionally, it was also tough. But I had lots of support, and that was half my battle won. My family members were rock solid in their care and did not give up on me.

They prayed and cried and prayed more.

“Chemotherapy was taxing”: Jen’s smile belies the suffering that arose out of the side effects.

They also looked after my son, Joshua, who was 2½. They brought him to visit so I could touch him and sing to him and just feast my eyes on him.

Friends brought food, talked and joked with me. Those chuckles gave me strength.

My pastors and friends from Bartley Christian Church also gave me and my family great encouragement.

Strangers from all over Singapore and other countries were moved to pray for me. It was incredibly touching.

Rock Flower is born

Soon, I was 32 weeks pregnant. One day, I developed a fever and had to have blood transfusions.

My gynaecologist prepared for delivery through Caesarean section.

Half an hour later, when the nurses placed my baby on me, I was undone.

She was so beautiful and perfect – a living, breathing testimony of God’s faithfulness to me and my loved ones.

The medical team were tearing and cheering. For my husband and me, it was a holy moment that we will always remember.

Feisty from the start: Jill was born two months premature and rushed into the NICU.


Baby Rock Flower was taken to the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) to fight for her life. She was born two months premature and had to be assisted by machines to breathe, eat and stabilise her body temperature.

She was so small and fragile, but we could see she was feisty. She had been through a lot in my womb, but God was with her. I could feel His protection and presence with her tiny being.


Just two weeks later, I was hospitalised for another cycle of chemotherapy.

Past midnight on the Friday, I felt a radiating pain in my stomach. It made me splutter and gasp.

My oncologist rushed back to the hospital to check on me, felt my stomach and ordered a CT scan immediately. It confirmed his hunch that my colon was punctured!

My tumour had ruptured and I needed to have emergency surgery.

My colon surgeon flew back to Singapore to scrub in.

I was rushed into the operating theatre in the same chaotic way as I had seen in the movies.

I was crying bitterly, thinking this could be the very last time I would see my loved ones.

At this point, a group of praying friends from my church arrived to visit me. They prayed aloud over me and my pastor quoted from the Psalms:

Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise His holy name. Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all His benefits – who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. (Psalm 103:1-5 NIV)

God overrules

People die from perforations within hours, and the surgeons were urgently trying to save my life from the spillage within.

They were not thinking of intervening on my other tumours.

But God had other plans.

The doctors resect approximately 50cm of my colon. The spillage proved to be minor as part of my small intestines had conveniently blocked the perforation.

Then, my colon surgeon had a thought to just look at the other tumour in my peritoneum. He went on to surgically peel it right off from the nerves!

Needing to get other expertise for the rest of the tumour, which was attached to my artery and ureter, he called my vascular surgeon – who just happened to be in the next OT doing a procedure!

What are the odds?

He managed to peel the tumour off my blood vessels, when previously it had been encrusted around the neighbouring organs.

They then called in my urologist, who felt it best for the organs infected with cancer to be removed. Upon obtaining permission from my family, he took out my right kidney.

After seven hours of surgery, I was wheeled out at 4am on Sunday.

The doctors were so happy with the outcome. My family was jubilant at God’s dramatic rescue.

Faithful, that’s my God

In His time, through His way, God has made all things work together for my good (Romans 8:28).

He used many people to touch my life. He sent messengers. He sent doctors who went over and beyond the call of duty to look after me. His Church, the body of Christ, stood by me and prayed non-stop for me.

He gave me my parents, siblings, parents-in-law and siblings-in-law to love me through thick and thin.

He gave me a strong and wise husband to lean on and cry to.


Picture-perfect: Knowing her two children, Jill and Josh, were God-ordained gave Jen the “fight to live”.

He gave me children, both my firstborn and my unborn, who gave me the fight to live.

He gave me His commands and His Word that anchored and instructed me through the pit of pain and suffering.

All throughout, I hid in the shelter of His wings. I knew His everlasting love and compassion first-hand. He never left me; He never forsakes His child.

Here and now

Baby Rock Flower, named Jill Evangeline, is now 7 years old and I am 41.


To the Gohs, “thriving” is a forever promise.

I have been in remission since 2018. Physically, I am still building up my body, but I am free from stabbing pains and living joyously with a shorter-than-most colon and one kidney!

One day I will face physical death. Yet it is well with my soul – because I know Jesus as my Lord and Saviour, and trust in His promise to me that in Him I shall have eternal life.

This story first appeared in Salt&Light

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