What began as one of the happiest moments in this young couple’s lives ended up as a fight for survival, and not just for one life but for two.
Aleks Patete and her husband, Dominic, were feeling over the moon when they discovered they were going to have a baby, but all that changed during one routine ultrasound at University Hospital Cleveland. Their world crashed when doctors discovered a cyst on Aleks’s ovary—and unfortunately, it was cancerous.
The doctors then advised the couple to opt for an abortion in order to begin aggressive chemotherapy at the earliest.
Aleks, who is a registered nurse at the University Hospital, was not ready to go as per doctors’ advice. She strongly felt that her son, whom she and Dominic named DJ, was her savior. She realized that she would have never gone for an ultrasound checkup if it wasn’t for her pregnancy.
“It’s a miracle,” Aleks 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.”
“He saved my life,” she said. “Now it was my turn to save his life.”
So instead of going for aggressive chemotherapy, Aleks chose the safer route. She decided to go for mild chemotherapy so that her son would be less affected.
Initially, she was very frightened as she thought somehow the treatment would have an adverse effect on him. But doctors assured her that milder chemo treatments had only a small chance of affecting her baby. During the five-month chemo course, Aleks was still working as a nurse. She said that it was the toughest time of her life.
“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.”
“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.”
But all the fears, struggles, and uncertainties were put to rest when Aleks finally delivered a healthy baby boy eight months later, on April 24, 2017. She believes that everything went smoothly because of God’s grace.
“It was just beautiful,” she said. “And he’s the sweetest baby, always smiling and just a joy.”
She underwent surgery to remove one of her ovaries soon after. But like any other mother, she wishes to have more children.
“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.”
“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. I truly think God was watching over us,” she said.
Aleks proved that miracles are possible with grit, determination, and faith.
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