Scott Taylor, his wife Katey, and their three daughters were no strangers to navigating their way through medical trauma, particularly bowel trauma. In 2007, their daughter Abbey, then 6, was disemboweled after sitting atop a faulty wading pool drain. She endured nearly 20 surgeries in 9 months and succumbed to her injuries the following March. Determined to protect other families and children, Scott and Katey formed Abbey’s Hope, a nonprofit dedicated to educating parents and communities about pool safety.
Years later, when Scott Taylor turned 50, he knew it was time for his first colonoscopy. But, like so many people, he put it off. His doctor had prescribed the test twice, but Scott was reticent to follow thru with scheduling both times.
I was healthy and had no history of colon cancer.
But the family did have experience with colon cancer. In fact, it had not been kind to the Taylors. Katey’s dad’s life was cut short from stage IV colon cancer just 6 months after being diagnosed in 2017.
Several months after his father-in-law’s death, Scott’s doctor was adamant about Scott being tested. Recognizing Scott’s apprehension about the colonoscopy, he suggested an alternative – Cologuard®. Cologuard sounded more palatable to Scott. Yet, even after receiving his kit, it sat unused in his bathroom for weeks. Until Katey intervened.
She basically told me that the next time I went into the bathroom, I shouldn’t come out until I’d deposited my sample in the box!
It was December of the same year her father had passed. He heeded to her demand, made the deposit, sent it off, and waited. Surprisingly, the result from Cologuard was positive for possible cancer. While Scott was sure it must be a false positive, he worked with his doctor to schedule a follow-up colonoscopy to verify. Prior to the procedure, he inquired how long it would take.
Typically around 30 minutes.
After a colonoscopy that lasted more than an hour and a half, Scott and Katey learned several polyps were found. Further testing was necessary and scheduled. The polyps were spread throughout the length of the colon. Multiple treatment options were discussed, including a complete colectomy.
Scott and Katey started down the path of second opinions, gathering information and assessing a variety of options before commiting to a plan of treatment. They spoke with a gastrointestinal surgeon who was confident he could remove each of the polyps, even though they were sprinkled throughout the length of Scott’s colon. Because this doctor’s specialty was GI surgery, he was prepared to repair any nicks or abnormalities that presented themselves during the procedure.
The targeted, specialized plan of action gave the Taylors the comfort and confidence to follow through.
Surgery was scheduled for March 20, 2018. Ten years to the day since their daughter Abbey passed away. The date, however, presented a new lease on life this time around. The GI surgeon successfully removed all the polyps – and actually discovered more than were reported in the initial colonoscopy.
The polyps ran the length of the colon, one was cancerous and another was actually a clump of several. All trouble spots were removed and though the prognosis looked good, there was an area of concern – a dubious gap of tissue between the cancerous polyp and the wall of the colon. Nearly one month later, on Friday, April 13, during one of the greatest winter storms in Minnesota’s recent history, 18 inches of Scott’s colon was removed to help ensure his continued health. Tests of the tissue reported negative for cancer. He was considered stage I and no additional treatments were necessary.
It was Friday the 13th and Scott, his wife Katey, and their daughters felt as lucky as ever.
Cologuard was the key for Scott and became the gateway to ensuring the healthy life he currently enjoys. Just as he and Katey became advocates for pool safety after young Abbey’s daunting experience, he has parlayed his cancer journey into a mission of inspiration and advocacy as well. Recognizing his good fortune in learning his cancer diagnosis with Cologuard, he’s advocating regularly for colon cancer screenings – whether they come by way of Cologuard or colonoscopy.
I know I’ve inspired at least 80 people that I personally know to get tested, and that number continues to rise. Had I waited longer for screening, the treatment would have been much tougher, and the outcome could have been much worse. When people worry about the uncomfortable nature of a colonoscopy, I tell them the treatment for cancer left undetected would be no comparison. I’d tell anyone to get over the fear of a colonoscopy, and if they can’t mentally get there, use the Cologuard. It’s literally poop in a box and no more complicated than that!
Scott Taylor lives a life fueled by intention. He and his family have faced the unimaginable more than once and each time, they turn back to the world with inspiration in their eyes and advocacy in their hearts. From adversity springs hope. Scott Taylor and his family are proof of that.
For more information about Abbey’s Hope, go to abbeyshope.org. For more information about Cologuard, talk to your physician.Return to Faces of Blue Learn your screening options Get Your Rear in Gear - Twin Cities Abbey's Hope