PUEBLO — Mikaela Naylon is like most other girls her age: she's a freshman in high school, enjoys listening to music, and plays in the school marching band. Yet she's been through more than most kids her age.
"I mean, I'd like to think I'm pretty normal now," she said.
Naylon was walking her dog in 2020 when she sprained her ankle. However, after two months of pain and swelling, she was convinced something was wrong.
"When I was getting my first surgery, they were like 'you have cancer' and I was like... I'm 10," she continued.
Naylon was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma,a rare type of bone cancer that accounts for 2% of childhood cancer cases in the United States,according to the American Cancer Society. It's characterized by a tumor that can grow around or inside of a bone. Her doctors say this type of cancer often goes undiagnosed, as it can look like a simple bone fracture.
"There are some days where I'm like that genuinely happened to me, and it has changed how I act. And this is not just a one-time thing, I'm going to have to deal with it for my entire life," she continued.
Naylon and her family say the diagnosis has changed their lives forever. She's been receiving treatment at Children's Hospital Colorado for three years. Mikaela has seen the cancer metastasize, or spread, to her lungs. She has also chosen to amputate one of her legs.
Her family says that her unique sense of humor and cheer has given them hope. Mikaela has entered remission thankfully after many surgeries in her lungs, but has to keep an eye on the cancer for the rest of her life. Her advice? Look on the bright side.
"You can be sad about it, I'm not trying to say you can't be, but don't be all down in the dumps 24/7. That's just gonna make it worse. Have some humor, make some jokes. Don't be sad all the time, that can make your journey so much more difficult," said Naylon.
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