Morgan’s older sister, Kayla, was diagnosed with neuroblastoma following her high school graduation. Morgan shares her experience with cancer and what it has been like to watch her sister endure cancer treatment.
The pediatric cancer journey has been something that I will never forget, for many reasons good and bad. It has been an incredibly painful season of life but there have been many rewarding days too. I’ve watched God perform miraculous healings on Kayla and many other children battling cancer within the past five years. There has been numerous days of sickness, death and exhaustion but there has also been an abundance of joy, healing and beauty in the midst of the storm that is cancer. I am thankful for the time that I have gotten to grow with my family and see God’s grace and mercy upon our lives. It has been far from easy, but life is so precious, and I am thrilled to see how the Lord will bless us in the years to come as Kayla continues in remission.
For me, the most surprising aspect of my experience with cancer was the incredible amount of support that came to me and my family in our difficult time. People from all over the world faithfully prayed for us for years and held us up, prayerfully and physically, even on the hardest of days. When Kayla was feeling well, people were constantly up in her hospital room with all kinds of love, encouragement and gifts to share with us. It was awesome seeing how all of our family and friends came together no matter what to love us unconditionally.
Not everything about me has changed for the better. My sadness, anxiety and depression have skyrocketed since Kayla was diagnosed. Things weren’t always difficult, but when they were I learned to be more patient and solely depend on the Lord for strength. I have become more self-reliant but also have learned how to ask others for help. I am stronger than I ever imagined possible and I see life in such a precious way. Since Kayla got sick, I do not see “little things” as “big things” anymore. I used to struggle with getting caught up on life’s small details, but now I see the bigger pictures and It makes life so much more rewarding.
The best piece of advice I can offer is to be strong but do not feel pressured to be perfect. Get into therapy and be vulnerable with others. There are professionals who want to help you and who care, so take advantage of their resources.
Watching Kayla undergo treatments was incredibly hard. She was weak, sick and incredibly frustrated during her days in and out of the hospital. I felt helpful when I was taking care of things at home but also having a routine schedule at the hospital. I stayed with Kayla for certain nights to give my parents a break and stayed by her side every time she was sick from chemo. I never felt helpless but there were certain times when I felt hopeless, and that was a crushing realization.
Love hard and show continuous support. Do not “forget” about your friends when they are feeling better. The cancer journey is overwhelming and even the victorious days can be a lot to take in. So never give up on those fighting and do not get frustrated when their days are hard. Be gracious, supportive and always show acceptance to those that need it the most.