Aleks Patete was seven weeks pregnant when doctors discovered she had ovarian cancer. Deciding not to terminate, she bravely went ahead with the pregnancy whilst undertaking chemotherapy at the same time, a risk that certainly paid off with the recent delivery of her healthy baby boy, DJ.
An important discovery
For 28-year-old American registered nurse Aleks Patete and her husband Dominic, finding out they were pregnant was incredibly exciting news. What they didn’t expect however was to be told at a seven week ultrasound check-up that shockingly Aleks also had a cyst on her ovary, which was then diagnosed as ovarian cancer.
“It’s a miracle,” the new mum recently told PEOPLE Magazine. “The cancer could have progressed a lot further, and we would have had no idea if it wasn’t for my pregnancy. God sent DJ to save my life.”
Ovarian cancer is very often not detected until late stages due to there being little symptoms, so it really was fortunate for Aleks that her pregnancy ultrasound picked up on it so early.
Saving her son
Now facing the fight of her life, Aleks was advised by doctors that the best treatment for her condition was to terminate the pregnancy and commence aggressive chemotherapy immediately. Mother instincts kicking in, Aleks instantly refused.
“He saved my life,” she says simply. “Now it was my turn to save his life.”
But what was Aleks to do next? Not doing anything would put her own life at risk, but if she did seek treatment then she might possibly put her baby at risk.
Various chemotherapy treatments were discussed and she was advised that for her situation there was actually quite a low risk of the chemo affecting the baby.
“As a mom, you don’t want to do anything that could harm your baby,” says Aleks. “I was terrified, but they explained that it was a relatively safe option.”
A tough journey
After making the extremely difficult decision, the expecting mum immediately started a gruelling five month course of chemotherapy having six rounds every four weeks. During this time all ultrasounds showed her baby as appearing healthy. Amazingly she also continued working full-time.
“It was rough trying to grow a human and go through chemo,” she says. “I was so tired and sick that I had to schedule my days off for when I knew I would be feeling ill.”
Bundle of joy
Aleks thankfully finished her chemo three weeks before giving birth to a healthy, bouncing boy named DJ (who was born on April 24).
“It was just beautiful,” she says. “And he’s the sweetest baby, always smiling and just a joy.”
Despite having her right ovary and fallopian tubes removed post-birth to prevent the cancer coming back, as she hasn’t had a full hysterectomy yet, it could still be possible for Aleks to have more children – which is something she wants.
Currently in remission, the new mum is however incredibly grateful for how everything has turned out so far.
“I think about the things that could have happened and what could have gone wrong and there’s no other reason than the grace of God that everything worked out and we are both alive,” she says. “I truly think God was watching over us.”
What an amazing story. We wish Aleks and her family all the best for her recovery.
Top image credit: Aleks Patete