Skylar Meyer, 3, remains ball of positive energy despite six surgeries for cancer
Pretoria - After six surgeries - four of them major - Skylar Meyer remains a ball of positive energy despite her condition.
The journey for the 3-year-old from Equestria, east of the city, started on June 27 last year when her parents took her into Margate Hospital to get her belly button checked out. It had been changing colour.
After about five hours of scans and blood tests, they discovered a mass in her abdomen. They were transferred to eThekwini Hospital and Heart Centre in Durban for specialist medical attention. She was admitted into the paediatric intensive care unit on June 28.
The next morning, their world fell apart as they were informed that Skylar had a tumour located inside her kidney, basically confirming that she had cancer - the dreaded words no parent wants to hear.
She was then sent for scan after scan, and test after test, to determine what kind of tumour it was.
A biopsy, bone marrow and test confirmed that it was stage 2 neuroblastoma cancer where the tumour was actually located outside her kidney and it was a more aggressive kind of cancer, which is more difficult to treat.
After tests, scans and the dreaded chemotherapy sessions, Skylar was declared in remission in February this year and they thought the big fight was won.
In May the Meyers received the devastating news that Skylar had relapsed with cancer, which was now stage 3 neuroblastoma cancer.
“They opened up but could not remove the tumour as it had grown around blood vessels and it was not safe to remove it,” her mother Chantel said.
“Skylar had time to heal and then they tried to shrink the tumour with chemotherapy and other treatment options.”
In August, Skylar had surgery, which went well, again. The tumour was extracted and she underwent her last chemo session last month.
Chantel said Covid-19 had made life with a cancer patient so difficult as they could not go anywhere, and the move from Margate a few months ago did not make things any easier.
“Only one parent was allowed during treatments and during surgeries. Her husband only saw Skylar every time she was discharged from hospital as he was not allowed to see her during any of her treatments.
Chantel said it was a financially difficult time as she had to stop working to care for Skylar and they went from a two-income family to a one-income family, with a lot more expenses this time than the first time and having to make several dietary changes.
“Skylar still has to go through several weeks of radiation treatment, which she has never experienced, and we don’t know how it will affect her and what to expect. With every session of chemo her taste buds changed what she was able to eat this week she could not tolerate the next week.”
Chantel said they were doing constant research to find out what Skylar needs and what would be good to bring her levels up so she can sometimes have an extra week at home to relax before the next week of chemotherapy.
“Even though we know she needs it to get better, it is very difficult for her and your heart breaks seeing your child go through such difficult challenges ... she is only 3 years old and has been fighting cancer since she was only 2.
“She has such a fighting spirit, and even though she is going through something horrible, she shows you that you can do anything. But how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. That’s how we as a family have approached this huge battle: we take it one day at a time,” said Chantel.
They were grateful to everyone who had been supporting them with donations, as help was needed.