Dear Jack

Taylor G

Active LifeList Participant

2021 was supposed to be my year! After buying a very questionable vintage RV and spending three years of saving up, my husband and I were all set to spend the whole year adventuring across the US. We quit our jobs last November and hit the road for our first destination, the holidays with my in-laws in Northern California. This was the first time I would be spending Thanksgiving and Christmas with them and we were so excited for the quality time, especially considering my mother-in-law was in the throes of her third battle with breast cancer. Just three days after Christmas and three days before the start of our big trip, we got the devastating news that her chemo was not working and the cancer was now rapidly taking over her liver. Without hesitation, we made the decision to postpone the trip and stay with her until the end. We had one rough but cherished month of enjoying time with her while also watching her quickly deteriorate and she left us peacefully on January 28th. We then decided to stay in Northern California to help my father-in-law, who was learning how to take care of himself for the first time in 30+ years. At the beginning of May, we agreed that he was getting the hang of things and felt confident we could leave him for a glorious, month-long trip through Oregon and Washington. We had the most incredible time and were looking forward to exploring the rest of the states after a quick pit stop back in California for a friend’s wedding.

Only hours after leaving California on our way to the Grand Canyon, we got the news that my grandmother had passed away back in Colorado. So again, we gracefully accepted our change of plans and headed back home to be with family. While we were back, I decided to finally complete the follow-up for an abnormal Pap smear I had gotten just before we left Colorado in November. The follow-up, of course, came back concerning and I would need to stay in town much longer than expected to have surgery done. The procedure went smoothly and a month later at the follow-up appointment, I asked my doctor to check out a lump I had noticed in my left breast. She agreed that the lump felt suspicious and two weeks later, on October 13th, at the ripe age of 29 I received my breast cancer diagnosis which put a permanent end to our dream trip.

Exactly two weeks after my diagnosis, I had my first round of very strong AC chemotherapy along with immunotherapy to help reduce my chances of this happening again. I completed four rounds of that and was enjoying a short break for Christmas before diving into 12 weeks of two other chemos when I contracted COVID. Though my COVID experience was mild, thank God, it turned my three-week break between chemos into a five-week break between chemos and the wait time without treatment has been torture for my mental health. I’m currently scheduled to return to treatment January 10th and cannot wait to get back into the battle. After these 12 weeks of weekly treatment, I will have surgery to remove the tumor and affected lymph nodes. We are still unsure if it will be a mastectomy or lumpectomy, which will be determined by the amount of shrinkage from the chemo closer to my surgery date. I will get a month to recover from surgery and then dive into daily radiation!

So there’s the story of how my best year ever has actually been my worst and how cancer (my own and my mother-in-law’s) has affected myself, my family, and my foreseeable future.


Taylor’s LifeList:

  1. Tattoo
  2. Meet Andrew McMahon
  3. Spa day with my husband at a hot springs

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