When Michelle Buchholtz learned that she had Stage 4 Breast Cancer in 2012, the next step was quite obvious – a double mastectomy and the removal of 18 affected lymph nodes. In an unexpected turn of events, Michelle and her fiancé Alex Ansalone discovered that they were expecting their first child during the surgery. However, because of the Michelle’s extensive treatments, they were forced to terminate the pregnancy.
Michelle and Alex
Later that year, the couple was pregnant again, but the baby had congenital abnormalities and wasn’t able to get to term. At this point, any couple would have been discouraged, but Alex and Michelle decided to take matters into their own hands. They decided to try for a third time once Michelle was declared cancer free, which happened February this year.
At 17 weeks pregnant, Michelle began to experience back pain that couldn’t be linked to her pregnancy. Several tests were done and they revealed the couple’s worst fears – the cancer had come back with a vengeance. It has spread to Michelle’s spine, pelvis, hip and thigh. The doctors told them it was impossible to be cured at this point, but the couple was determined to deliver their baby this time around. Michelle delivered Precious Ava at 29 weeks, because she might not survive her mother’s cancer ridden body. It was both a heart breaking and inspirational moment when mother and daughter met for the first time.
“It was difficult to be totally happy initially.I was looking at her thinking ‘Oh My God, I’m not going to be here’, but when they put her on my chest a couple of days later everything sank away.”
Michelle’s fiancé and family continue to gather funds to be able to afford life extending therapies for the new mom. Although the cancer is incurable, they want to give Michelle as much time as possible with her daughter.