They say timing is everything. In Michelle Hitchcock's case, the timing couldn't have been worse.
The Chula Vista resident had just beat cancer when she got the news she was pregnant.
So began the rollercoaster ride that was to become her life for the next year or so.
It’s those ups and downs of life that have given Hitchcock a special gift, her nine-month old son Robby.
“He's my reward I think for going through all the stuff I've gone through,” she said.
What she's gone through is cancer - a rare form of it known as Hodgkin's Lymphoma. She went through months of chemo and survived. And then something even more shocking happened. Within three weeks of stopping treatments, she got pregnant
“Technically chemo should have stopped my cycle and I should have gone into early menopause but my body went into overdrive,” Hitchcock said. “It went the opposite of what was supposed to happen.”
The pregnancy went well until seven months in.
“I was seven months along and I noticed a lump in my neck again and I went in for another check-up and Dr. Johnson had looked at it and he said, yeah it's back,” Hitchcock said.
A second cancerous tumor was growing behind that scar on the side of her neck.
Hitchcock was understandably scared she would lose her baby.
“I was terrified that something was wrong with him, that something might have infiltrated into him, if it had infiltrated into me,” she said.
She had a C-section at 36 weeks. The delivery was bittersweet because right after the birth, she would head into treatment again.
She returned to the Sharp Chula Vista Infusion Center, spending hours getting more chemo and drugs, which meant she was now radioactive, and couldn't hold her baby for 24 hours after treatment.
“It's difficult, it's emotional and it's hard, it's really hard,” she said. “It's really, really hard because I want to be a good mom and I can't be a good mom if I can't take care of my son.”
The new mother underwent cancer treatments for nine months total. Her nurses called her "The Miracle Patient" because she and her baby made it through.
Now, when Hitchcock walks down the hall at the Infusion Center, she comes as a visitor, not a patient.
“There are always good things that come out of bad things, all the time,” Hitchcock said. “My son is one of them.”
After treatment and a stem cell transplant, the cancer is gone for now. However, doctors have informed Hitchcock that the rare form of cancer could return in the future.