Giving Mitchell Back: Relapse |

Giving Mitchell Back: Relapse


Written by Meg McElwain
To read Meg McElwain's original blog on, Witness to a Mriracle, click here.

It’s barely been 5 months since Frank and I gave Mitchell back to God and he went to Heaven. With every passing day, I am more at peace that his struggle is over.

I am relieved that the hard fight is over, the disease is gone and he is free from pain. I know he is happy and safe. There are days that the shock of what our family went through shakes me to my core. Other days I wonder if Mitchell was ever really here.

It was all a surreal, shocking experience. I had some of my life’s most joyous events, like Mitchell’s birth and baptism. I also witnessed horrific and psychologically damaging events, like watching my infant son struggle against the side effects of chemotherapy, cancer and eventually die of liver and kidney failure.

I am thankful to God and the community for getting me this far.

We learned just days before Mitchell’s 2nd birthday that the cancer was back in almost 90% of his bone marrow. The leukemia had been in remission for over a year. The end of treatment was only five months away.

Relapse is something that I always feared. He had a rare form of cancer and was only an infant at diagnosis, so his chance of relapse during his lifetime was extremely high.

I was mentally prepared that a relapse would likely happen when he was older. I was not prepared that relapse would occur now, during active chemotherapy treatment.

The day we got the news that the cancer was back was harder than the day of his original diagnosis. I was educated this time. I knew what chemotherapy drugs would do to my baby. I knew how hard a bone marrow transplant would be.

I knew that the prognosis was not good. Our oncology team encouraged me to maintain hope that we would cure Mitchell’s cancer.

I cried out to God. I told my minister James Howell in a text message one night that I felt abandoned by God. I did not understand why He was doing this to Mitchell and our family. James simply replied, “When Jesus felt abandoned he talked to God.”

I started to talk to God. I told Him I was terrified. I did not want my baby to die. I did not want Frank to lose his brother.

I committed to God that I would trust Him and asked Him to stay with Mitchell and our family as we prepared for all the stress and uncertainty that was ahead of us.

Meg McElwain is wife to Frank Turner, III, and mother to Frank and Mitchell. Meg has owned and operated Magnolia Marketing in Charlotte for over a decade. She volunteers and serves the community. After, Mitchell was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer at only 3 months old, Meg felt God calling her to use Mitchell’s fight to beat cancer and her journey as his mother to inspire and help others. Meg and Frank established the Mitchell Bays Turner Pediatric Fund within the Novant Health Foundation and raise money to support, educate and advocate for families facing challenging pediatric diagnosis.

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