A woman who rejected abortion after she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer while pregnant recently gave birth to a healthy baby boy, according to People.
Aleks Patete, 28, said she went to University Hospital Cleveland for a routine ultrasound when she was seven weeks pregnant last November. During the exam, hospital staff discovered a cyst on her ovary. She was diagnosed her with ovarian cancer.
Patete credits her then-unborn son with saving her life.
“It’s a miracle,” Patete told People. “The cancer could have progressed a lot further, and we would have had no idea if I wasn’t for my pregnancy. God sent DJ to save my life.”
Doctors told Patete her best treatment option would be to terminate the pregnancy and undergo aggressive chemotherapy — but she refused.
“He saved my life,” she said. “Now it was my turn to save his life.”
After consulting with her doctors, Patete decided to undergo chemotherapy during her pregnancy.
“It was the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make,” she said. “But we had to weigh our options — if I didn’t do anything, I put my life at risk, if I did something, was I putting the baby at risk? It was extremely difficult.”
“As a mom, you don’t want to do anything that could harm your baby,” she said. “I was terrified, but they explained that it was a relatively safe option.”
Patete then underwent a chemo course that required six rounds every four weeks. She works as a registered nurse at the hospital where she underwent treatment, and she continued to work full time during her pregnancy and chemo treatments.
“It was rough trying to grow a human and go through chemo,” she said. “I was so tired and sick that I had to schedule my days off for when I knew I would be feeling ill.”
While she underwent chemo, Patete said, her ultrasounds showed that her baby looked healthy, so she continued her treatments.
“It put my mind at ease,” Patete said. “But you never stop thinking the worst possibility, like what am I doing to my baby?”
Patete said she completed her chemotherapy treatments just three days before she gave birth to her son, DJ, on April 24.
“It was just beautiful,” she said. “And he’s the sweetest baby, always smiling and just a joy.”
Patete said that after DJ’s birth, she underwent surgery to have her right ovary and fallopian tube removed in order to prevent the cancer from spreading.
“I can still have children, it’s a possibility,” she said. “I could have had a hysterectomy, but because I plan on having more kids, the doctors wanted to just take the ovary out.”
According to People, Patete is officially in remission. She has a checkup every three months to make sure the cancer doesn’t return.
“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 said. “I truly think God was watching over us.”