Pregnant Woman Nearly Dies Fighting Rare Leukemia; UM Doctors Save Her

Posted at 11:10 PM, May 02, 2013

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Alyssa Gale-Mitchell spoke to FOX 17 back in December.

“I was so sick that I couldn’t breathe. So I went into the hospital,” she said. Doctors found fluid on her lungs.

A series of tests revealed she had acute lymphoblastic leukemia, or ALL. It’s very rare. To complicate things, she was 5 months pregnant at the time.

Although the situation was difficult, the choice for Alyssa was easy. “What right do I have to say my baby can’t take its first breath?” she asked rhetorically.

So she fought to give her unborn baby a chance at life. During that time, she got married, and there was a spaghetti dinner benefit in her honor.

She checked into the University of Michigan Hospital, leaving Spectrum Health. That’s a long way away from her young son Dayton in Grand Rapids.

She said she’s the first woman to undergo three rounds of chemotherapy while pregnant.

“The last round kind of knocked us down quite a bit,” she said as the baby cried. “We both almost died from it cause I got really sick,” she explained.

Gale-Mitchell battled a fever of 105 degrees for two weeks. She was transferred back to Ann Arbor where doctors got it under control.

Two days later, Scott Mitchell was born via an emergency c-section. “He was so tiny [at] three pounds, one ounce,” she explained.

Just two weeks ago, she learned her cancer is in remission. “I kicked cancer’s butt. Now we just got to hope and pray that it stays gone,” she smiled.

That could happen, thanks to finding a bone marrow donor which is Alyssa’s half-sister, Lexi.

“She is a 100% bone marrow match for my daughter,” Melissa Gale, Alyssa’s mom said.

During the journey, Alyssa said funding and educational resources have been hard to find pertaining to her to illness. So she’s doing something about it.

“I’ll be starting an organization to help other people with rare forms of leukemia get assistance, get help with anything that they need,” she said.

She said the baby is doing well health-wise. Alyssa said Scott has to see an ophthalmologist since he was born prematurely.

Since he was still in Alyssa’s womb as she underwent chemotherapy, an oncologist and cardiologist check Scott once a week to make sure his development is normal.