Humble Breast Cancer Survivors Finds Comfort Helping Other Survivors
Sheila Taylor of Humble is cancer free after battling breast cancer. Though no longer undergoing treatment, she uses her faith to help others battling the disease.
On Oct. 12, she joined other breast cancer survivors at a “Pink Out” Celebration hosted by Harris Health System. The event featured a lighting of Harris Health’s Smith Clinic and reunited cancer survivors with physicians and staff to celebrate their stories of strength and perseverance. All were treated through Harris Health’s Ben Taub Hospital, Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital and Smith Clinic.
Taylor, 60, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013 after a mammogram at Harris Health’s Aldine Health Center and a biopsy at Smith Clinic. She had a lumpectomy, a mastectomy of her left breast and, later, reconstructive surgery at LBJ Hospital.
“I was surrounded by caring people who were very encouraging,” she says. “That made all the difference in the world.”
One of her most important resources was the patient support group at LBJ Hospital. Even though she is cancer free, she continues to participate in that group and another at Smith Clinic.
“The women are fantastic,” she says. “I tell them Harris Health is the best place to be. They are receptive to me because I have walked the walk. I have a positive attitude about cancer. I encourage them to care for their overall health because cancer can reoccur.”
Earlier this year, Taylor worried about a reoccurrence. In May, she found a lump in her right breast.
“It turned out to be benign, but I was scared,” she recalls. “I accept cancer—or even the possibility of it—to be part of my life, but I didn’t let it stop me.
“I learned from women in the support groups. Now I give back.”
Through her ongoing care at Harris Health, Taylor has lost 120 pounds, learned proper exercise technique from physical therapists and received spiritual guidance and participated in counseling from professionals.
She tells new patients about eating better: whole fruits and vegetables, no canned or processed foods. Other important do’s are exercising consistently, connecting and talking with others about sadness and never giving up.
“I believe stress and anxiety feed cancer,” she says. “I use everything in my arsenal to fight it.”