Thursday, October 5, 2017 - 4:01pm
Carol Taylor was first told a little bit of a suspicious area was found in her mammogram.
“The doctor wanted to do another mammogram in five months,” Taylor said. “The doctor told me the suspicious area was in there; but, he didn’t think it was cancer. So, he wanted to wait five months and do another mammogram. I said, ‘We’ll wait five months; but, if that suspicious area is still there, I want it removed so it won’t turn into cancer.’ So he agreed to that.”
At Taylor’s next mammogram five months later, there was no change.
“So he agreed to take that suspicious area out and send it off to get tested even though he didn’t think it was cancer. And it came back that it was cancer. Triple negative breast cancer.
“It’s not hormone related. A majority of breast cancer is hormone related; but, this one is not. So this one can come back. It could come back within the first five years after it’s been diagnosed. If it hasn’t come back by then, then it won’t come back, according to the doctors. That’s what they say. So, I’m right at two years. I’ve got three more years to go,” Taylor said.
There had been no cancer in her family she said except for a cousin who had breast cancer.
“But it was the hormone kind; so, it’s nothing like what I have,” Taylor said. “It kind of shocked me; so, I had to take time to process it.”
Her surgeon, Dr. Matthew S. Pugliese, recommended Dr. Anu Batra to be her oncologist. Taylor’s first surgery was in July 2015; and, her second was in August 2015. She started chemotherapy in September 2015 and had her final chemo in February 2016.
Taylor said she had some support from friends who took her back and forth to chemotherapy at University Hospital in Augusta; but, she drove herself to radiation.
“They give you a month to heal. Then you take your chemo, they give you another month to heal and then you start your radiation,” she said. She did have a lumpectomy but doesn’t have to take any type of treatment now.
“The chemo and radiation were just a precaution; because, it’s a very aggressive form of cancer. You’ve got to be proactive in your health care decisions,” she said. She still sees Dr. Batra every six months.
“It had shocked me. Then I think I sent a text to my one cousin that had breast cancer and told her and then I said I’ve just got to jump in and have some operations and take some chemo and radiation. I just kind of did it on my own,” Taylor said.
“I’ve just always had to do everything myself; so, I just jumped in and did it. And I worked a lot of the time when I was taking chemo. Not on the day I was taking chemo. They’d give me a humongous bag of Benadryl; and, I was just so sleepy I couldn’t go back to work,” she said.
Taylor said they had a team of doctors at University Hospital.
“It’s not just one doctor making your decisions, it’s a team. And I kind of like that,” she said.