Hello everyone! This is Mrs. Dr. Bryan Taylor speaking!! (I’m not sure if that is at all the correct way to address myself, but after four years of walking my husband through pharmacy school, I think I can call myself whatever I want! ha.) Anyway, I am writing today with a full heart and a smile on my face. For the first time in a long time, life is pretty dang good for us. Bryan worked his first official day as a pharmacist today, I have been running and exercising for the first time in a while, I had a very fun speaking engagement last weekend (which I will share more about later.), and I am so happy to say that after being on this new chemo pill since February, the tumor markers are going down, slowly but surely, and I will prayerfully have the scans soon to back up the lab results! Ta da! Can you see now why my heart is full and I have a smile on my face? It is a good day!
So about my speaking engagement, A few weeks ago, I got a phone call from one of my most favorite teachers in middle school and he had some amazing news to share with me. Through a series of events, some of his students heard about my story and my blog and they decided they wanted to do something to help Team KCT. So they got some ideas together and finally decided that the 8th grade class at Oldham County Middle School was going to have a lock-in last Friday night, and all proceeds were going directly to Team KCT to help with medical bills and all the other expenses we face in this battle with cancer. Can you believe that! I had not met any of these kids even one time and yet they were so thoughtful and generous that they still wanted to give of their time and energy and put on this event for me. So they did! And what an event it was.
I was so excited that my schedule was clear because that meant I got to go and speak to these kids about my story and to encourage them with their stories. I showed up at the middle school, which looks drastically different from when I was there. (Back in 2001-2004… fellow classmates, here is the part where you feel super old!) And when I saw how many students had decided to participate… man I was absolutely blown away. 140 students at OCMS voluntarily stayed up all night, gave of their time and money, and all to support someone who they barely knew. It was amazing! They had all kinds of games and activities set up for the duration of the evening and it looked so awesome, it almost made me want to stay the whole night! Almost, and then I remembered I wasn’t 13 any more and I don’t do well with no sleep :). Nevertheless, even for the few hours I was there, I was blessed beyond belief.
The best part was getting to share my story with the students. Everyone sat down in the gym and I got the chance to tell them all about how cancer was never something I planned for but that I still looked at it as an adversity I could turn into an asset. The very fact that I had a platform to come and talk with them was only there because of the cancer I had faced. But I chose to look at it with a positive attitude and to use it for the greater good of God’s kingdom, because if I was going to have to walk through cancer, I was sure as heck gonna use it for something bigger and not let my life be a waste. I also got to share how my health battle had’t begun with cancer. I actually started battling in the 7th grade when no one knew what a hard time I was having. Still, I went to school every day with friends and family oblivious to what I was going through. And because I knew what that felt like, I had all the kids raise their hands if they had ever come to school going through something no one else knew about. And you know what? Almost every single student raised their hand. So I had them look around at each other and then come Monday, when they were back in school, I wanted them to think of those hands and to remember that you never know what someone else is going through. And that a kind word, smile, or simple conversation can make all the difference in someones day and in their life.
What a simple lesson right? But I think we as adults are even worse about forgetting to remember that everyone has a story behind the exterior of their appearance. It is SO easy to simply judge someone based on what you first see of them, and all the sudden you think you’ve pegged their whole life’s story when you actually know nothing about them. And I know we all know not to do that and it seems simple, like it should be a middle school lesson, but somehow, it’s something we still all forget. For instance, if someone were to look at me right now, they would see a completely normal woman. I have short hair (which everyone think I have only because I was brave enough to follow the latest trend of the pixie cut, I have no visible physical ailments, and when I talk, I can choose to only share the details of my life that I want others to know about. At first glance, you’d never know that I am in the middle of a battle for my life. You’d never know that I am missing one breast and that I sometimes feel insecure about how I look. You would never know that I have had my ovaries removed and when I leave a conversation about babies, or pregnancy, or how much someone’s child looks just like them… it’s not because I’m being rude or am bored with the conversation. It’s because I physically cannot have children unless God performed a miracle so I leave the conversation before the pain starts and I tear up and become the center of attention. You’d just never know my story simply by looking at me, but if you know me, you know I have quite the story to tell.
And you know what? People who do know me remember what I’ve been through and they try to help me or encourage me in areas where I may need it. But the only reason why they can do that is because we have a relationship and they do know me. Now I’m not suggesting that you go out and start asking every single stranger about their deepest darkest secrets. Please, don’t do that! ha. I’m just trying to remind you again of a lesson you were probably taught in middle school as well. And that is simply to treat people you meet with kindness, remember they have a story you know nothing about, and that by showing simple acts of kindness towards them, you never know what kind of an impact you will be making. Simple, I know, but we all could use the reminder.
Now back to the kids. The 140 of them only knew part of my story, they’d never even met me, some of them now have talked with me only long enough to say hello and take a picture, but the kindness they showed me is something I will never forget. I doubt most of them know what all battling cancer truly entails, but they still stepped up and my life is better for it. I so loved getting to talk with them, hug many of them, hear some of their stories, and even pray with some of them who had a family member going through a similar situation. So for all the OCMS students out there reading this, I cannot say it enough, but thank you, thank you, thank you! You all meant more to me than you could know.
Well, that’s the update for now but the next post I will share more about Bryan’s graduation day and what a HUGE milestone that was for us, and I also have some exciting news to share so be looking for the next post coming soon.
This past weekend I was supported by a very specific group who “Locked In for Team KCT,” but it only served as a reminder for all of you who have been supporting whether we have met or not. From the last t-shirt sales (WOW), to random checks in the mail, texts, prayers, hugs, and any other way you all have shown support, to you all again I say thank you, thank you, thank you. God bless and I’ll be posting again soon!