Aleks Patete told People magazine she “truly think[s] God was watching over us” about a routine ultrasound at seven-weeks in her pregnancy in November, which led to her diagnosis of ovarian cancer. Patete called it “a miracle,” since the pregnancy allowed doctors to catch the cancer before it could progress.
Doctors recommended that Patete have an abortion so she could go through an aggressive form of chemotherapy. She refused to do so, however, crediting her son, DJ, born April 24, with saving her life. “He saved my life,” she said, also recalling how “God sent DJ to save my life” and that “Now it was my turn to save his life.”
Not only did Patete make the courageous decision to choose life for her son, she continued working as a nurse full-time.
Patete is a registered nurse at University Hospital Cleveland, where she also received her ultrasound and treatment. The chemo treatments she did go through had only a small chance of affecting DJ, though Patete described wondering throughout her pregnancy as to if her son could be affected.
As ABC News 5 Cleveland saw it then, “Patete and her unborn child fought the cancer together,” a fitting way of describing the bond of mother and child in any pregnancy, but particularly in one far from the ordinary.
Doctors even dealt with treatment during the pregnancy in a way that “really varied from what would be our normal way of treating something like this to maximize the chances for the baby without compromising her,” Dr. Angelina Gangestad said,
About the chemo course, five-months long with six rounds every four weeks, Patete said “it was extremely difficult” and described it as “the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make.”
Good news continued to follow Patete, as she finished chemo three works before DJ was born. He’s not only healthy, but, according to his parents is “the sweetest baby, always smiling and just a joy.”
Patete’s cancer is now in remission, though she still goes in for check-ups to ensure it hasn’t returned. She had her ovary removed, deciding against a hysterectomy because she wants to be able to have more children.
Patete says “there’s no other reason than the grace of God that everything worked out and we are both alive.”
Hope for Two is credited with helping Patete with chemo treatments during her pregnancy. The website assists in connecting women who have or have had cancer during their pregnancy, as a kind of support system.