When I was 15 years old, I began having terrible headaches. On October 25, 2013, my brother's 18th birthday, I was diagnosed with my First Cancer, a very rare form of Ewing's Sarcoma (a bone cancer) which presented in my sphenoid sinus (soft tissue) the size of a golf ball. The occurrence of this cancer occurs in less than 2% of the world's population. My survival rate was calculated at 15%.
My Ewing's treatment consisted of 15 rounds of compressed chemotherapy. I treated at Mayo, Minneapolis Children's and Riley Children's Hospital in Indiana. I had to go to the University of Indiana-Bloomington to have 31 rounds of sedated Proton Radiation. After 9 months of therapy, I was pronounced NED - No Evidence of Disease on July 15, 2013.
After missing my entire sophomore year of high school and attending my junior year part-time, I graduated with Honors with my class from Edina High School May 31. 2015. I had been accepted to the University of Minnesota – College of Liberal Arts in the “President’s Emerging Scholar’s Program.
But college would have to wait. On June 8, 2015, on what would have been my late sister's 22nd birthday, I was diagnosed with Secondary High-Risk AML Leukemia. The likelihood is less than 1% of the original 2% of the world's population to receive this diagnosis.
After completing the sarcoma chemo, radiation and then leukemia chemo, I thought I would be prepared for BMT; I was greatly mistaken. It is the worst and most ominous experience of my life. Shortly thereafter, I was in the PICU (Pediatric Intensive Care Unit) and developed both Heart and Kidney Failure. A Dialysis Catheter was inserted as were two additional central lines. I stayed in the PICU for 15 days, for most of which I was sedated, unconscious or in poly-pharmacutical delusions. After being readmitted to the BMT Floor, I was mostly hospitalized until December 16, 2015. I developed Graft-vs-Host of my Skin and Gut and an arsenal of other side effects.
The chance of survival from BMT is 30% on a good day. The chance of dying in the hospital before your BMT release is 1:5.
My life continued with my “New Normal” and in summer of 2018, I had transferred to St Catherine University to continue studying Nursing when I found a mass in my chest. I was admitted into Masonic Children’s Hospital where I was treated for Relapse AML Leukemia/Myeloid Sarcoma. I received a second Bone Marrow Transplant, which took place February 12, 2019. I suffered several complications but am doing better. The road ahead will be difficult but I am optimistic that I have beaten cancer for a third time!
I can now proudly refer to myself as a Three Time Cancer and Two-Time Bone Marrow Transplant Survivor. I hope my Cancer Journey can help the Journeys of others. I take pride in the fact that I represent Children's Cancer Research Fund and have helped them by being featured Cancer Kid at the CCRF "Dawn of a Dream" Gala November 2016. I also have performed at “Date for Life” and other CCRF Events.
On August 12, 2019, with her parents by her side, Taylor Nicolle Borkon Lieber passed away after a seven year, long, hard-fought battle with cancer. She lives on in the charitable endeavors and positive messages that she shared with all who had the privilege of knowing her.
Think of TayLie whenever you see a giraffe or pink carnations 💖🎗🦒