Little Black Hills Battles – Lyla’s Story

Little Black Hills Battles – Lyla’s Story

Three-year-old Lyla has spent a good portion of her life fighting a battle that no kid should have to fight. She was diagnosed with bilateral kidney cancer at 14 months, after tumors were found on both of her kidneys during an emergency department visit following an appointment in urgent care.

Lyla’s mom, Mikayla, took her to urgent care, expecting the diagnosis to be a routine ear infection. During the urgent care visit, a nurse practitioner noticed Lyla’s stomach was distended and recommended an X-ray. The X-ray results prompted an emergency department visit, and within the next 24 hours, Lyla had been flown to Sioux Falls, diagnosed with Wilms’ Tumors on both of her kidneys and had received her first dose of chemotherapy.

Although rare, Wilms’ Tumors are often highly treatable. The tumor is also known as nephroblastoma and is the most common type of kidney cancer in children.

The next six months were a blur for Lyla and her family, as Lyla endured an intense chemotherapy plan to attempt to shrink the tumor on her kidney so it could be surgically removed. A biopsy of her kidney revealed that the tumor was more aggressive than her care team originally thought, so they increased her chemotherapy plan. Around that time, Lyla was able to start receiving her chemotherapy infusions during outpatient appointments at Monument Health’s pediatrics department, eliminating the need for weekly trips to Sioux Falls.

Approximately six months later, Lyla and her family received the news that Lyla was in remission. However, Lyla’s immune system is still healing. Normal childhood illnesses affect her differently than they do other toddlers, so she has had a few short stays in the pediatrics department at Monument Health.

Mikayla said that the pediatrics team at Monument Health has helped Lyla not just in terms of her illness, but also by making her feel comfortable in an unfamiliar situation. She said that Lyla does really well when they visit for scans or overnight stays because she recognizes the caregivers, who all go above and beyond to ease her fears. Mikayla said that it makes her feel better knowing that her daughter is in really good hands.

Despite having tackled cancer before she was two years old, Lyla is very much still a normal kid! And arguably a strong one. She loves to play outside, especially watching the ducks at Canyon Lake Park. She also likes to go swimming and doing arts and craft activities.

Click here to learn more about the Little Black Hills Battles program and other local kids like Lyla!

Children's Miracle Network

Donations through Monument Health’s Children’s Miracle Network (CMN) program are devoted to helping children like Lyla. All funds stay local.