In Autumn of 2016, a 40 year old DeShonjla “Shonni” Peterson discovered a lump in her breast and shortly after, on November 22, 2016, she got diagnosed with Stage 1 breast cancer which was during breast cancer awareness month.
Fast forward to the day she was scheduled to have a double mastectomy, DeShonjla found out she was pregnant! Left with two choices, her breast surgeon suggested she either terminate the pregnancy and treat the cancer or continue with the pregnancy and delay treatment.
DeShonjla and her husband Kevin made the decision to protect their unborn child. So they kept the pregnancy. Talking about it in one of her blog post, she wrote:
“If I choose to start chemo today, I risk something possibly harming Zoe . While there are plenty of chemo babies out there, there isn’t enough evidence to support me risking any additional part of her health.”
At week 20 of her pregnancy, on April 7, DeShonjla had a single mastectomy. In her words:
“If I did the bilateral and with reconstruction my baby would be under anesthesia for close to 5 hours and I couldn’t risk that so I went with the lesser of the evils and only had one removed”.
On Monday the 31st of July 2017, DeShonjla welcomed a healthy baby girl, Zoe Jade. Talking about her new baby, she said: “I couldn’t be more ecstatic to meet her”
Talking about her experience, DeShonjla said:
“Vulnerable is one of those things that I never wanted to be. Vulnerability always equated to weakness to me. Any vulnerability was calculated to make myself feel and look more human. Now as I sit today, transparent in my thoughts and emotions about this journey I feel nothing but strength and relief from my vulnerability. I feel beautiful in this space.”
Her Instagram post below,
by @nceephotography –– Vulnerable is one of those things that I never wanted to be. Vulnerability always equated to weakness to me. Any vulnerability was calculated to make myself feel and look more human. Now as I sit today, transparent in my thoughts and emotions about this journey I feel nothing but strength and relief from my vulnerability. I feel beautiful in this space. This outward body is not where my beauty is housed. It is well within and courses through every fiber of my being. I share this image as another level of vulnerability and transparency. I don’t owe anyone this, but this is where my beauty now resides. It resides in everything I do. It resides in everything I am. It resides in everything I am affiliated with. It resides in everything that I love. Thank you all for walking on this journey with me. #shonnissupportgroup #mastectomy #breastcancer #cancer #uniboob #love #zoeskeeper #kelsismom #pregnantwithasideofcancer #pregnantwithcancer #pregnant #survivor #freedom #badtittymeat
DeShonjla has since started chemotherapy after she was able to nurse her daughter for about three weeks.