Kyla’s Journey

Kylas+Journey

Sarah Snowden, Staff Reporter

“I think the most significant part about having cancer at such a young age was how it built my character,” junior Kyla Walls said. “It really made me stronger as a person,” 

Kyla was diagnosed with a Wilms tumor at twelve years old. Seven months later, in January 2013, Kyla was officially cancer free.

“It was a rough time, but I was extremely lucky to have an awesome support system,” Kyla said. “I had a pretty good mindset, and was really able to keep my head up because of people like my mom, granny, and best friend.”

Kyla’s pediatrician felt something in her side during a checkup, so she was sent to get an ultrasound. A couple hours later, she was called back to the hospital where she learned she had a tumor in her kidney.

“When we got the news, my mom was pretty scared,” Kyla said. “Seeing her worry concerned me, but besides that I was okay.”

Two days later, Kyla went into surgery to remove the tumor and get a biopsy.

“Surgery was about six hours long, it was considered a major procedure,” Kyla said. “At the end they put a port in for chemotherapy, and it was the months of chemo that was the hardest part.”

Kyla went through chemo for three months. During this time, she had to adjust to a new, more debilitating life.

“Chemo was the hardest thing my body has ever gone through,” Kyla said. “Being so physically exhausted and sick all of the time was extremely draining. It was really hard to get out of bed sometimes.”

Things that Kyla considered normal in her life became a struggle. She wasn’t able to keep up with school, and had to switch to homeschool for a semester.

“Homeschool gave me flexible hours and less work, which helped a lot,” Kyla said. ”But I was really lonely at home and missed my social life.”

Despite being frustrated that she couldn’t things she used to, cancer didn’t take much of a toll to her mentally. She attributes her good mindset to having people like her mom, her granny, who flew in from New York and stayed with her the whole time, and her best friend, Alexa Cesar, Junior at Reedy.

“Alexa was always there for me, even though I know she was busy with school, band, and athletics.” Kyla Said. “She visited me in the hospital and asked me if I could hang out every weekend, and if I couldn’t she would come keep me company at home.”

“Overall, the experience made me more appreciative of everything I have, especially my physical health,” Kyla said. “I learned how quickly everything can change, because just in a couple of hours my whole life completely transformed.”