The US recognizes January 1 as the start of a new year. Most people take this time to reflect on things that happened throughout the previous year. Some of the thoughts are on the things they enjoyed, things they might do differently the upcoming year, memories of loved ones and friends that were lost during the previous year, and thankful to God to be alive. Often times, resolutions are made, and people are motivated and inspired on the promise of the upcoming year. 🥳🥳
As others, I celebrate January 1 as the beginning of a new calendar year, but it was February 27, 2018 that was the beginning of a new year for me (and hundreds of others). It was on this day that I began to start taking my health seriously. You might be wondering why February 27 and not January 1. February 27, 2018 was the day my cousin, Taylor, took her last breath on earth. Taylor was only 23 years old when she passed away because of a thyroid storm. It was a wakeup call to me and others who knew her to begin to take our thyroid/health issues seriously and to take our medicine each day. It was because of her death that I now live.
I am not sure if you are aware of what thyroid glands are and what they do. Before my doctor was concerned about my glands growing, I had no clue what they were and what they do for the human body. The thyroid glands are located in the front of the throat and shaped like a butterfly. Some of the functions of the glands are the control of metabolism, release of certain hormones, and energy levels. Sometimes, things do not work as they should, and diseases are developed.http://www.myclevelandclinic.org.
The two most common thyroid diseases are hyperthyroidism(Taylor’s diagnosis) and hypothyroidism (my diagnosis). Hyperthyroidism is when the body produces too much hormones. The heart beats faster than it should, weight loss occurs, and a person might experience nervousness. Hypothyroidism is when the body produces too little hormones. A person can gain weight even when he/she is not trying and might experience being cold all the time. Approximately, 10 millions Americans have these issues, and many may not even know. It commonly misdiagnosed http://www.endocrineweb.com.
I received my diagnosis in 2015. My doctor,Marcus Ueltshey, was concerned about my left gland constantly growing each time I’d see him. Due to the gland continuing to grow, my doctor and I decided it was best to have the gland removed . There would be a biopsy done to make sure there was no cancer. May 23, 2016, I went to have surgery at North Mississippi Medical Center. Dr Cauthen was the surgeon. He stated if the left gland was cancerous that I’d have to come back to have surgery again to remove the right one. He asked if I wanted to have both removed while I was under sedation. I agreed. On that day, I had a total thyrodectomy performed. Thankful to God that none were cancerous, but I was told by my doctor that I would have to take medicine for the rest of my life in order to regulate my levels. Taylor’s diagnosis was different. Tia, her mom, noticed Taylor’s eye bulging and wanted Taylor to get it seen about from her doctor. Taylor’s family doctor suspected thyroid issues and referred her to a specialist. Taylor had some health issues growing up. They assumed this would be another hurdle that Taylor would overcome. As any loving mother, Tia wanted to make sure everything was okay.
Taylor Denise McClain was born September 20, 1994. Tia said Taylor cried a lot as a baby. As she got older, her bubbly personality began to shine. It was only feasible that she would do something that would make bring a smile to others. In second grade, Taylor began cheering. She loved cheering with passion and joined a competitive cheer squad. As she got older, she would be a camp cheer coach to upcoming younger girls. She cheered from elementary, high school, and in college. Cheering was her life, and cheering gave her an outlet each time she overcome health obstacles that arose in her life.
In third grade, Taylor developed lymphedema. Lymphedema is the swelling of one or more extremities. It was only in one leg, but it caused her to wear a compression garment. Kids teased her, but Taylor did not let it stop her from doing what she loved. Taylor was not ashamed of the compression garment. When kids would stare, Tia told her to explain to them what it was. She let them know it didn’t make her any different from them.
Sixth grade came, and Taylor had another health problem. She was diagnosed with scoliosis. Scoliosis is the abnormal curve of the spine. She had to wear a back brace for two years. You already know. Nope. It did not stop her from cheering. Even with severe back pain, Taylor endured the pain and cheered. It was her senior year of college when Taylor was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism. She’d overcome lymphedema and scoliosis. Surely, she would beat this too.
Tia began to notice that Taylor’s eyes were bulging. After seeing the family doctor, she was referred to a specialist. She was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism. The best way for him to describe it to her was to think of her heart beating over 100 miles an hour. The best way and most imperative way for her to overcome it was to take her medicine each day. If she takes her medicine, it would reduce the speed of the heartbeats. The specialist spoke the words that she never wanted to hear. He told her he wanted her to stop cheering for a moment because he wanted her body to get accustomed to the medicine in her body. When Taylor heard those words, she cried because something she loved was being taken away from her.
Later in the year, Taylor was’t feeling her best. She went to the doctor. When he ran the test, her thyroid levels were not as they should. He said Taylor. You have to take your medicine. Taylor thought the medicine was making her hair fall out. In actuality, it was the opposite. Since she wasn’t taking it, that was the reason she was experiencing the hair loss. Her hormone levels were not as they should be. Tia begged her to take her medicine each day. There was nothing that Tia could do but ask. Taylor was in another part of the state in college. Technically, she was considered an adult. All Tia could do and did do was pray that Taylor was following the doctor’s orders. Often times, Tia wonders if Taylor did not take the medicine as instructed because she feared it take away her capability of cheering.
February 24, 2018 would become the day Tia or any parent never wants to face. Taylor was home and should have been getting dressed for a cheer competition. Tia was preparing for work and noticed that Taylor was not getting dressed.Tia asked why she wasn’t. Taylor told her mom that she wasn’t feeling well. She said she told the cheer coach that she was gonna sit this one out. They assumed it was a winter cold and that all was well. Later that afternoon, Nick, Taylor’s fiancé, called Tia to inform her he was taking Taylor to the hospital. (Taylor and Nick were engaged on February 27, 2017. A year later, their lives would change.) Taylor was complaining about not being able to breathe. Tia told Nick that she’d meet them there. When Tia arrived, Taylor asked her to play gospel. She wanted something to ease her mind as the doctors ran several test to see what was going on.
Taylor complained about being hot. Nick turned on the fan to attempt to cool her down. During the testing, things took a turn for the worst. Taylor’s body began to convulse, and she began to have seizures. Out of all the illnesses she’d endured, she had never had any seizures. Tia began to ask the doctors what was going on. Taylor was going in and out of consciousness. During one of the seizures, Taylor sat straight up. She made a confession to her mom. She said “Mom, I have not been taking my medicine.” Tia was in shock. She inquired as to how long it had been since she had gone without taking it. She told her mom that it has been a long time since she hadn’t taken it. Immediately, Taylor began to start having another seizure. Nick and Tia became frantic. Again, Taylor lost consciousness. She began to code blue. The doctors had them leave the room. Tia did not want to leave. She wanted answers to what was going on with her baby. Security came and asked her to please leave to allow the health team to do what they needed to do to save her. The only thing that keep replaying in Tia’s mind was the confession Taylor made. “Mom. I haven’t been taken my medicine. I don’t know. It’s been a long time.” Those words would be the last words Taylor spoke to her mother.
After a while, they were able to revive her, but they told Tia that the hospital did not have the necessary equipment to care for her, and she’d have to be transported to another hospital. Taylor was moved to another hospital approximately 15 minute away. When Taylor got to the the next hospital, she coded again. After reviving her, the doctors told Tia and Nick that Taylor’s heart was weak and would probably not live much longer. Despite the words of the doctor, Tia was praying and believing that Taylor would overcome this health issue as she had with everything else. Tia never left Taylor’s side. February 27, 2018 (exactly a year that Nick proposed), Taylor exhaled her last breath on this side of earth.
The definition of a cheerleader is a person that is enthusiastic or a verbal supporter of someone or something. Some characteristics of a cheerleader is someone that is hard working with good grades, patience, persistence, confidence, and physical strength. By the definition, Taylor was the ultimate example of a cheerleader.
I asked Tia what would she like to say about Taylor. She said even though Taylor was in pain and didn’t feel well. She never complained. She never brought it up. She wanted to make others happy. Regardless of us having a bad day or how we feel, we do not have to complain. We can keep pushing and keep going. She did not want Taylor’s death to be in vain. I can’t speak for other, but I can speak for myself. Taylor’s death will not be in vain. I, too, was one that did not take having to take my medication daily seriously. I would go days without taking it. I had been told the same thing as Taylor’s doctors told her. Carman, it is imperative that you take your medicine each day. After Taylor’s death, I am taking my medicine each day, and it is a priority.
Taylor Denise McClain was a loving fiancé, sister, daughter, niece, aunt, and student. In high school, she graduated the top 30% of her class. She was number 44 out of 300+ student in her high school. She was the life of the party. Even in grade school, her presence made an impact wherever she went. Tia didn’t know how much of an impact Taylor made on the lives of others. It wasn’t until the day of Taylor’s funeral that she realized how much of an impact Taylor had on the lives of classmates, teachers, friends, and family. On the day of her service, there were over 2500 people that came to show her respect. The pastor of the church said that he’d never had his church as full for a person that died so young. He said he could only imagine what it would have been if she’d lived longer.
Taylor, your death left a void here on earth, but you will forever be in our heart. We know you are looking down from heaven with your beautiful smile and cheering for us here on earth. We love you Taylor Denise McClain. May your soul Rest In Peace.