Woah. New mum Bo Smith really has the whole brave mama bear thing utterly down pat. Not only has she contended with stage 3 breast cancer, but she’s also undergone a mastectomy, chemo and radiation to treat it. Plus she managed to fall pregnant, have a baby and breastfeed him!
Aggressive stage 3 cancer
The Texan mum says her cancer diagnosis came after a period of feeling incredibly poorly. It was not hormone-driven, which made it much harder to treat.
“Then I start getting very sick after I ate, and I was very tired, and the lump went from very tiny to extremely large, and took over about half my breast,” she told People Magazine. “That’s when I was like, no, there’s something else going on here.”
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Bo’s aggressive form of cancer meant she was developing a new tumour in her left breast almost every day. Her gruelling treatment involved sixteen rounds of chemo and six different drugs. She then had her left breast removed, but chose to keep the right one.
“I had a horrible fear of it coming into my right breast, but at the same time I wanted to keep my breasts, because if there was a chance that I could have children in the future, I wanted to be able to breastfeed them,” Bo told People.
“Knowing that breast cancer was already taking that one breast from me, I just felt like it would be unfair for me to let it take that other breast too.”
Against all odds
Further treatment, in the form of 44 rounds of twice-daily radiation ensued, and while Bo was keen to have a baby someday, her treatment was thought to have caused fertility challenges.
The idea of undergoing more injections, in the form of IVF, was the last thing the battle-weary Bo wanted to endure.
Doctors advised her to rest, recuperate and let her body recover for a year before trying for a bub. She then started taking an oral medication to help her get pregnant and two months later … she was! Yass queen!
This against the odds story resulted in a beautiful new baby boy called James, born back in August to Bo and her partner (who is also called) James.
“It was shocking,” Bo says of her pregnancy news. “I was shaking a lot that day! When I was diagnosed I thought that was it, and I would never be a mom. I never even pictured myself being here in three years.”
Being able to breastfeed her little boy is the icing on an already amazing cake.
“To be able to breastfeed him, I know that I made the right decision to keep that breast,” Bo said. “Now I breastfeed him every day, multiple times a day, and every time he latches on I feel amazed that this is actually happening. That I have a son, that he’s mine, that I made him and he’s breastfeeding.”
“I am not ashamed of this body”
When Bo shared an image of herself feeding baby James, mum bun, scar, surviving boob and all, it quickly went viral as followers got a hefty dose of perspective – and an eyeful of cute.
“I can’t begin to explain how this feels every day to be able to breastfeed my son,” she posted alongside the image. “After losing one breast to cancer and being told I may not ever have this sweet boy in my arms. I am not ashamed of this body. This is what continues to remind me of how lucky I am to be here today.”
Congratulations to Bo and James on the birth of their beautiful baby boy. Blinking champs!