Sam Taylor - Survivor
My Breast Cancer Story
I’m 42 years old. I’ve been married to my wonderful hubby Scott for 17 years & we have 2 children, Josh & Jade.
On the 8th May 2013, while I was getting dressed for work, I brushed against something on my left breast. Going in for closer inspection, it felt like there was a Kool Mint under my skin. I freaked for a second, finished getting dress, organised the kids & went to work. I saw the Dr that night & was sent off for a mammogram & ultrasound the following week. The mammogram came back clear, yes they got it, but it looked glandular. I was on a high, 20 mins later, the guy doing the ultrasound burst that bubble & told me he was organising a biopsy for the next day. Stupid lump!
I saw my GP 21st May, I was pretty sure he was going to tell me it was a cyst I’d have to get drained, but no, he hit me with cancer instead…CANCER! I didn’t have time to let it register, which I think was a good thing. I was at my Surgeons office on the 22nd & getting prepared for surgery on the 23rd. I had to go & have blood taken, chest x-rays & have radioactive tracer injected into my tumour to help see if it had spread into my lymph nodes. I remember being anxious before surgery.
I had a Stage 3 aggressive tumour. It was 1.6mm x 1.5mm. It was removed with clear margins. Sentinel node biopsy also came back clear, no auxiliary clearance required, so NO lymph nodes have been affected & it hasn’t spread to other parts of my body. Not so great news is it was Triple Negative Breast Cancer. That means it won’t respond to the regular treatments offered to other Breast Cancer Fighters (I don’t like the word sufferer) There is currently no targeted treatment for Triple Negative Breast Cancer, so it needs to be hit hard with a big old course of chemotherapy then radiation.
9 weeks into 6 months of chemo I found out I was also BRAC1 positive…..when your oncologist calls you at 8:45 on a Thursday night, you just know it’s not to see what you had for dinner. That changed a few things for me. Within 10 minutes of hanging up the phone, I knew I was pulling out of radiation and taking the surgery path, “heavy monitoring” just wasn’t going to cut it for me.
I finished 6 months of chemo & spent Christmas & the New Year recovering. In February 2014 I had a hysterectomy & oophorectomy, which was no drama at all. 13 days later I had a bilateral mastectomy with Lat Dorsi reconstruction, and implants. Funny, I knew it was going to hurt, just not quite as badly as it did.
So here I am, 12 months after diagnosis, I saw that light at the end of the tunnel & ran through it! Now I’m getting on with life, taking the kids to Disneyland & getting back on my bike every opportunity I get. I’m a member of Girls Ride Out & have met some wonderful people that have been with me the whole way through. Special mention to Rochelle, who I’d only met 6 months before my diagnosis & has been rock solid for me. Rochelle & her bike were always there when I needed some mental therapy & for that, I will always be thankful. Who needs a psychologist when you have a bike & the open road?