Thursday, June 7, 2012

In My Words: Breast Cancer Knows No Age

Avid golfer Erin Taylor received the shock of her life when she was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 25. Despite her grueling treatment regimen, Erin refused to let cancer get the best of her. This is her story, in her own words.

At age 25, cancer was the last thing on my mind.  So when I felt a lump in my left breast, I wasn’t immediately concerned.

However, when it didn’t go away after my next menstrual cycle, I knew it might be something more than a harmless lump. After an ultrasound, mammogram and biopsy at GBMC, I heard the words that changed my life: “You have breast cancer.”

I barely had time to process it before my team of doctors sprung into action. My diagnosis of Stage IIB Invasive Breast Cancer brought me back to GBMC where a team of physicians and nurses sat down with me and my family and explained my case in detail. I was amazed at how quick and thorough they were.

First, I was scheduled for a lumpectomy and lymph node dissection to remove the aggressive tumor(s), followed by fertility egg retrieval and preservation. Then, I faced eighteen weeks of chemotherapy and eight weeks of radiation. It was a lot to go through, but I knew if I was going to fight this disease, I would need a positive attitude. I said to myself, “I’m a competitor and a fighter at heart. That’s something cancer can’t take away from me. It will not kill my good spirits, my hope and it will certainly not take away my smile.”

The caring team at GBMC helped me through my battle. The staff, doctors and nurses became a second family. They knew all about my treatments, offering expert advice on diet, exercise and managing chemo side effects so that the odds were stacked more in my favor.  Just as importantly to me, they also took time to get to know me as a person.  

To say that this experience has been life-changing is an understatement. It changed my perspective, attitude and gave me a greater appreciation for life. And, as a result of an essay I wrote to chronicle my journey, I was chosen as a spokesperson for Under Armour’s Power in Pink Campaign this past fall. The campaign celebrates women who use fitness and exercise in the fight against breast cancer. I have always been active, but exercise took on a new purpose during and after cancer, fueling me physically and emotionally. Because of the campaign, I’ve been able to tell my story and meet inspiring people around the country.  Not only that, they’ve given me $5,000 to donate to a breast cancer charity of my choice, and I plan to donate this money to the Sandra and Malcolm Berman Comprehensive Breast Care Center at GBMC. Because of their wonderful treatment, I’m now 27 years old and living cancer-free!

For additional information about services at GBMC’s Sandra & Malcolm Berman Cancer Institute, including videos, “Ask a GBMC Expert” forum, appointment requests and registration for cancer screenings, visit Or, call us at 443-849-GBMC (4262).

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