There is so much strength, courage and happiness in this story. I’m so honored to have captured and to share Athena’s story. Sephy is so truly beautiful and as sweet as can be. Athena journey through pregnancy and breast cancer is beyond inspiring. I was lucky enough to spend the morning with her and her family and have her share her story with me. Without exhaustion from the chemo the day before you would have never known the depth of what the Davis family has gone through and the challenges they still face.
I've never been so scared in my life as I was on the day I found out I had breast cancer. I was 9 weeks pregnant. This was my 3rd pregnancy. Unfortunately, the first 2 resulted in miscarriages. Our hearts were already broken before this news. We walked on egg shells those first 9 weeks of pregnancy before we even knew I had cancer. Now what?!?
Is this really happening?!
Is this even possible?! Pregnancy and cancer are two words I never thought go together. How could this happen?! I'm so healthy. I eat good and exercise. I don't smoke or work in a hazardous environment. What the hell?!?!
Cancer does not discriminate! It does not care who you are, how old you are, what color your skin is or...........if your pregnant.
I can never un-live the day I got the news. I can never live my life the same. My old life stopped that day and a new life started. One I did not choose.
The news was/is so hard to tell people. It's sharp and abrasive. It hangs heavy in the air. It fills the room with a dark cloud. It's so hard to tell people.
"So we have something to tell you." "Athena has breast cancer". ............
Your reply-"Wait, what? She's pregnant. She can't have cancer".
That's what we thought too!
I've had one mastectomy and 4 lympnodes removed at 12 weeks pregnant, 4/25/16. I started chemo 4 weeks later on 5/27/16.
"Wait, you can have chemo when your pregnant? Does it effect the baby, will you lose weight and be sick? How long do you need treatment?" And on and on an on....
So many questions. After an awhile we stopped telling people. It was exhausting answering these questions.
The short answers are: it is safe in pregnancy and 20 years of women before me walked this same path and delivered healthy babies.
I'm eternally grateful for these women.
The answers do not make the journey easy though. I will endure a couple of surgeries and over a year of treatment, while we raise our baby girl. Wow! "How are we going to get thru this?", I ask myself everyday. We will get through it with HOPE, great family, supportive friends, excellent medical care, strong spiritual belief, and the constant reminder of that wiggly little baby growing inside me driving me to get up everyday and do the best I can, even if that is laying on the couch. She keeps me going!
Fast forward-I gave birth to beautiful baby girl named Persephone Charlotte Davis on 10/19/16 with no complications. We call her "Sephy". I was 38 weeks pregnant. She weighed 6lbs, 8 oz and was perfect! I just finished 3 months of a second type of chemo I couldn't have while I was pregnant. I'm starting to feel so much better. That last 3 months have been challenging to try to juggle a newborn and chemotherapy. I was much sicker and weaker than I thought I would be. But now I see the light at the end of the tunnel. I am so grateful to have a healthy baby and to also have my health despite all my cancer diagnosis. My type of cancer is treatable and my prognosis is good! I continue to get stronger everyday and enjoy every literal second of Sephy!"