My name is Richie Taylor, and I’m a breast cancer survivor.
On May 4, 2018, I went in for a mammogram for a lump that I found. I really didn’t think anything of it. That day I went in for the mammogram. I knew the lump was there, but the lady just kept going and going. Does she not see anything? What is going on? Then she said “I’m going to have the radiologist look at this if that’s okay.” And I said, “Yeah, I’m not sure she will find anything.
The radiologist came back in the room and said, “Richie, you do have something going on. I would like to schedule an ultrasound today.” I said, “Are you going to be able to tell me anything today?” And she said, “Well, let’s just get this done, and we will talk again.” And so she did my ultrasound, and she went and got the doctor. The doctor told me that there was definitely something going on. And the doctor didn’t like what she saw. She said that they needed to perform a biopsy. The doctor helped me sit up, and she told me the rating for the lump was rated as a category 5 with a 6 being the highest. She also told me that I would be getting a call from St Johns to schedule the biopsy.
On May 16,2018, I had the biopsy done. The next day after the biopsy, I got the call telling me that I needed to come back to the office. They confirmed that I had breast cancer. That month was a whirlwind of doctors, appointments, tests, and scans. On Friday July 13, 2018, I underwent a double mastectomy. That, of course, is a long recovery.
I came out of surgery with four drain tubes, so looked like an octopus with all of those drain tubes going everywhere. I had every possible complication that you could imagine. I can tell you from the time I was a little girl chemotherapy petrified me. It was always one of my biggest fears. I just remember saying, “I never want to go through chemo!” Being nauseous is just something that I absolutely hate, and I don’t think anyone wants to go through that.
I also don’t think anyone wants to lose their hair. So the oncology appointment for me was the worst appointment. I really dreaded that day, and I was lucky that my friend, Leslie, went with me. That day my oncologist told me I was going to have to have chemotherapy because the cancer had already spread to my lymph nodes. We had to make sure they got it all, and that was a hard day. That was probably the HARDEST day for me. I just felt really beaten down because I had already lost so much, and now I was going to lose my hair too.
But, I knew it was coming.
I went home, and again my devotions were more of the same. The very next devotion when I found out that I had cancer was, “ Don’t worry the end will come soon. I am going to carry you through this storm.” So the devotions automatically switched over to, “Do not worry I am with you.” Now that I look back I see that HE lead my path to get right here today. I felt at peace the whole time because I knew he told me that I was going to get through it and at the time I didn’t know what “it” was. But HE has carried me because some days I couldn’t have carried myself. I know he carried me.
When I was going through the surgery phase. There was a long time that I couldn’t go to church. I was just so weak. When I started feeling better, I went to church and a lady told a story about her mom going through breast cancer. She said, “ God wants someone here to know that he’s not mad at you.” For about a week before and a half I had really struggled. I kept asking God what had I done, and I just felt like every time my life got a little settled I get hit with another obstacle. Then the cancer brought more complications. It was one thing after another. I was battling with and asking, “Why are you mad at me? What can I do to say to show you that I’m sorry so that I can have this stop happening.”
In that moment it hit me like a ton of bricks that this is where I belong. I’m not done with my chemotherapy yet. I still have 9 more treatments left, and then I will have 6 weeks of radiation. I will be on a chemotherapy pill for 5 years. I plan on having reconstruction once I’m cancer free because I wasn’t a candidate for implants at the time of my mastectomy.
Thank you BSNCF for all you do to help cancer patients like me.