A high school student’s senior year can be challenging enough without having to overcome a devastating medical diagnosis, but for one Eastside High School senior, that’s how her last year in high school started.
To have the opportunity to talk with 18-year-old Micaela Edge, better known as Sloan, is chance to hear her story. Diagnosed in September with Hodgkin lymphoma, Sloan will walk with the Class of 2018 later this month, her cancer in remission, ready to start the next chapter in her life.
“I had noticed a slight swelling on my neck that we assumed was a torn muscle of some kind and after a week or so, it didn’t go away so we decided to go to the doctor and ask them about it,” she said. “And they said to go get some X-rays and blood work and such, and I thought, ‘Blood work’s a little weird, but X-rays are normal,’ and then our doctor got the results back and she immediately said ‘You need to go to Egleston right now and get some test done.’
“It was actually my homecoming night so I was kind of just like this is all over nothing. It’s just a torn muscle. So we got the tests done and they found out it was some kind of lymphoma, and that was a whole deal. So we got admitted into the hospital and we did some more tests and we found out it was Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.”
Sloan said finding out it was Hodgkins lymphoma was a relief of sorts.
“It’s one of the more easily cured cancers out there,” she said. “Non-Hodgkins lymphoma, the other kind, is a bit harder to cure.”
Sloan said she was out of school for two weeks or so after her diagnosis having regular check-ups and getting everything planned out to make sure she was ok to still go to school.
“And then I went to school for a while, until we started chemo,” she said, “From there, it was periodically missing school, because the way they had my treatment set up, I would do a round of three weeks. One week was three days of chemo, the next week was one day of chemo and then the next week was a break, before we started on the next round.
Throughout the course of her treatment, Sloan continued to try to keep up with her studies.
“I had hospital homebound so I tried to do as much as I could then. And I also tried to do my best outside of hospital homebound to keep up, at least with my literature class,” she said. “I’m a very big literature person. I want to be a writer one day so I thought I have to keep up with this.”
Sloan said her teachers were supportive as she fought her cancer and worked hard to keep up her studies.
“They all felt so sympathetic for me and they knew that what I was going through was rough and I needed some lenience,” she said. “And a lot of my teachers, all of them, just responded positively and tried to help me as best they could.”
Sloan said her cancer was also hard for her parents.
“Parents, they hate it when they see their children in pain, so that was really hard for them,” she said. “But since getting better, since I’ve started recovering and since I’ve been in remission, they’ve done so much better.
“I’m so glad to have them in my life and I’m so glad that we’re a family and together.”
When asked what she will miss most about Eastside Sloan said, “Definitely the teachers, the counselors and the staff. They’re all really great people. And a lot of the friends I’ve made here.”
Sloan, the daughter of a Newton County educator, plans to continue her education and pursue her writing career at the Newton campus of Georgia State University.
Eastside’s 2018 prom queen said she never doubted she would graduate on time.
“In fact, when I was first diagnosed and they first told me I needed to stay overnight, I was like ‘But Mom, I have school. I can’t miss school,” she said. “I was freaking about that instead of freaking about ‘I had cancer.’
“I knew I was going to graduate on time, even with the cancer,” she said. “I told myself, ‘There’s no way I’m not going to graduate on time; I’m not letting that happen to myself.’
“That was just one thing I was bound and determined to do. And graduating, I feel like it will be one part, it’s like I actually did it, I’m actually here. I can’t believe this. And another part will be, hallelujah, it’s over.”