Kitt Kicks Cancer: Mytrel Kitt beats Hodgkin’s Lymphoma after several months of chemotherapy


Anne Rogers

Mytrel Kitt and DeAndre Stokes laugh together on Thursday, September 12. They have been each other’s emotional support through homelessness and Kitt’s cancer diagnosis and treatment.

Moolaw Soe, Features Writer

The phrase, “choose your battle,” is a common phrase and an advice said to many people. Mytrel Kitt, senior, had his own share of battles starting from a young age to when his life and perspectives on people changed after getting diagnosed with Hodgkin Lymphoma.   

Kitt is the oldest out of six children, but he is currently living with A’lazea Kitt, 17, My’kul Kitt, 16, and La’Vazea Guidry, 14, with their mom, Latasha Guidry.  

When he was around seven years old, Kitt went through times where the house did not have the necessities and he witnessed gun violence in his neighborhood.   

He said, “I done see so much…I had to grow up at a young age.”  

Early in 2015, Kitt and his family were in and out of four hotels in the span of a month and a half in San Diego, California because they were homeless, but he still managed to take care of his siblings.   

Kitt said, “It’s been nights when me and my siblings didn’t get to eat, and I had to make sure we ate so I would go to the store and get some hot dog, bread and chili and warm it up in a microwave just so we could have something to eat for the night.”   

Eventually, being in and out of hotels caused Kitt and his siblings, A’lazea, My’ Kul and La’Vazea to moved back to Omaha, Nebraska with their mom in late May of 2015. 

Back in Omaha, family members like Joanetta Rivers supported Kitt and his siblings by letting them live with her, buying them clothes and shoes.  

A’lazea said, ‘She treats us as her kids, she loves us a lot.”  

For years, Kitt had a large mass on the right side of his neck so when he moved back to Omaha, his father, Michael Kitt, took him to the University of Nebraska Medical Center to receive treatment.  

Kitt described the moment he got diagnosed with Hodgkin Lymphoma as a mixture of being scared and surprised that he had cancer. He thought he was in the earlier stages rather than the third stage.  

Hodgkin Lymphoma is a type of cancer that affects the immune system caused by a genetic change and rapid multiplication of b-cells, an infection fighting cell.    

It affects the lymph nodes which are small, bean like structures part of the immune system that filter and fight against harmful substances. 

According to American Cancer Society, by stage three, Hodgkin lymphoma would have affected both side of the lymph node found above and below the diaphragm, and the spleen depending on how progressive it was. In stage four, the cancer would have spread into other organs such as the lungs which would have made it incurable.   

Kitt said, “Stage four, I would have died.”   

Luckily for Kitt, the third stage was still curable for him, and he went through twenty-one cycle of chemotherapy before he finally beat cancer.  

 Kitt said, “This stuff is really crazy cause the sickness feels terrible on my body…it’s the chemo, I felt like the chemo was really killing me.”  

He described the smell of chemo was like saline. All he felt was cold fluid running throughout his body during the chemotherapy and it would make his stomach hurt. Losing his appetite due to the multiple side effects from the chemotherapy caused Kitt to lose twenty-eight pounds.  

When Kitt started feeling insecure about his weight and the loss of hair, he would go outside wearing durags or hoodies to hide his head even during the summer when it was extremely hot outside.   

Supportive friends like DeAndre Stokes, junior, would snatch the durags or hoodie off his head reassuring him that he does not need to hide himself.  

Now Kitt has started going outside without covering his head saying, “it took a minute to be comfortable with myself.” 

During the time he was fighting against cancer, Kitt surrounded himself with people he referred to as positive. He lived with Stokes, who continued to encourage him to keep fighting and going to chemotherapy despite the side effects.  

Kitt said, “I’m not going to say I didn’t want to quit, I thought about quitting a few times… ‘I can’t do this anymore’.”   

Friends like Stokes would sacrifice going to work to be there for Kitt through the five to six hours chemotherapy, because Kitt said the hardest part was going to the appointments alone.   

Stokes and his dad would attend the appointments with Kitt as much as possible, not leaving his side until the appointment was done.  

Kitt said, “When I was over there {DeAndre’s house}, I was stress free…him {Deandre} and his family was with me this whole time.”   

On August 2nd, 2019, Kitt woke up knowing it was his last chemotherapy session. He called his family members to share the excitement and walked into the hospital with his parents by his side knowing that it was his last chemotherapy and once it is done, a huge weight will be lifted off his shoulder.  

Although Kitt has been in a near death car accidents, he considered beating cancer as his second chance in life. 

After getting cured from cancer, Kitt’s perspective on people has changed. He referred to himself as calmer and more empathetic of other people.  

Kitt said, “I was kind of rude and mean, but now it’s like I’m just chill and laid back. I’m not so mean to people anymore…it made me think different, looked at people different. You realize a lot of stuff.”  

Since he was diagnosed and started his chemotherapy his second semester of senior year, Kitt missed many days of school which caused him to have to repeat a year. He explained that although he did not like to attend school, he came back because he wanted to walk the stage and get a diploma.  

Stokes explained that Kitt originally wanted to pursue a General Education Development degree (GED) instead of repeating a year of high school but telling Kitt that getting a GED is like getting a diploma without walking the stage at the graduation ceremony really brought Kitt back to North. 

Stokes said, “He don’t have a choice. I’m not going to let him fall off, go to the wrong track, lead off to jail or none of that…my family been in jail for too long. 

 On September 10th, 2019, Kitt got his last surgical procedure which was removing the port doctors used to draw out blood from his chest. He plans to give himself about three weeks to heal from the surgery before he starts working out to regain more muscles to his body.  

Through what he experienced from his childhood and after beating cancer, Kitt plans to offer a better life for himself by finishing high school and applying to become an electrician to save up money.   

 Kitt plans to attend business school, and start his own medical Marijuana business, explaining that he did a research that say that people who own two or more medical marijuana dispensaries make more than a hundred-million-dollar a year.  

Kitt said, “Just so I can make sure my family ain’t got to worry about nothing or being in a struggle.”