Moms Know Best: Kayla's mom, Myestia

When one child needs special time and attention, the other children need it too

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  •  2 min

Moms Know Best: Kayla's mom, Myestia

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A year ago, Kayla graduated from high school, eager for the next stage of her life.  

Her mom, Myestia, was just as ready to watch her oldest take on the world and follow her dreams, never forgetting her childhood cancer journey.  

In 2012, when Kayla was 7, she complained of headaches and stomach pain. An X-ray showed an enlarged spleen and liver. She was referred to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital® and diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

Kayla’s treatment ended in 2015. She’s now 19. 

Back in 2012, when she was diagnosed, she and Myestia made frequent trips to St. Jude. “There were times it was maybe three or four times a week, depending on her medication,” Myestia recalled.

But Kayla’s sister, who was 3 and her brother, who was just 1, saw Kayla getting all mom’s attention.  

Video: Hey Myestia, what's your best parenting advice?

“I had a 3-year-old who wanted to know why she had to go to school,” Myestia said.

Myestia knew how important it was to make sure her kids felt loved — even while caring for a child with cancer. 

So, she made the extra effort to schedule regular one-on-one time with her younger daughter, now 14 and her now 12-year-old son.

“Did I always want to go and play video games, go to monster truck rallies? No,” she said. “It forced me to pay attention to each of the children differently and not lump them together.” 

For the kids, it was a reminder that during what was a tough time for the whole family, they were important, too. For Myestia, it was a chance to get to know her children in ways she may not have been able to otherwise.

Read more about Kayla over 10 years after a cancer diagnosis here.

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