Giving it All You've Got: Meet @ahtaylor
Member Spotlights feature interviews with fellow Connect members. Learn more about members you’ve connected with and some you haven’t met yet. Nominate a member you think should share the spotlight.
TERESA: What brought you to Mayo Clinic Connect?
@ahtaylor: My first experience with Mayo Clinic Connect was associated with my first visit to Mayo Clinic. My schedule of tests spanned a full week. I was very unfamiliar with one test listed, called the calcium stimulation test. My first posts on Connect included general questions and information about insulinoma testing at Mayo Clinic and then a more specific question about the calcium stimulation test.
TERESA: What about Mayo Clinic Connect makes you feel comfortable to share openly and motivates you to take part in the patient community?
@ahtaylor: That has morphed over time.
Originally, I was seeking information about the testing. As the journey continued and I had a diagnosis (or in my case a recurrence of my original diagnosis), it became about finding others who also had the one-person-in-a-million people diagnosis I had and hearing about their experiences.
At first, I was uncertain about what I would get back by putting my questions and information out there. As I shared, I received responses and support.Soon, I started to give support, too.
Even though I am still going through issues with my diagnosis, I now use Connect to help others by providing information and the things I have learned through my experience of the last 8 years.
You quickly learn that members in the community are simply looking for the same type of connection. It just feels safe and supportive.
TERESA: What support groups do you participate in?
@ahtaylor: At first, I was part of the Diabetes & Endocrine System support group because that is where I found someone had posted about their experience with insulinomas approximately a year prior to my post. It was a little bit of a lonely feeling at first knowing there had not been a post in a year about insulinomas. But the volunteer mentors were quick to jump in and help. Eventually I moved to the Neuroendocrine Tumors (NETs) support group, which is more fitting for my diagnosis.
TERESA: Tell us about a meaningful moment on Mayo Clinic Connect.
@ahtaylor: I very specifically remember connecting with the first person I met with my same diagnosis. It is such a rare condition that talking to another person with the same diagnosis made it seem a little less overwhelming. We were at Mayo Clinic at the same time and able to meet in person. We still stay in touch periodically and keep up with how the other is doing.
TERESA: What surprised you the most about Connect?
@ahtaylor: The mentors are very instrumental in the discussions and getting people connected.
TERESA: What energizes you, or how do you find balance in your life?
@ahtaylor: I am a nurse and nurse leader at a hospital and I am responsible for six medical units. It energizes me to use my own patient experience to be a better nurse leader and to have a way to connect with my patients.
I find balance by spending time with my family.
TERESA: Tell us about your favorite pastime or activity.
I have several favorites – exercise, beach, sitting by the fire outside with my husband, spending time with my husband and two children as well as my sisters, their husbands and my parents. We have a very close-knit family. Spending time with them means the world to me.
TERESA: Do you have a favorite quote, life motto or personal mantra?
@ahtaylor: You have 3 choices in life – give in, give up or give it all you’ve got!
TERESA: What do you appreciate the most in your friends?
@ahtaylor: They are my family.
TERESA: What food can you simply not resist?
@ahtaylor: While it absolutely does not work with my diet for my diagnosis – grits with cheese.
TERESA: What do you love about where you live or vacation?
@ahtaylor: I live on a large farm where my dad was raised. My husband and I lived in the house he was raised in for the first 7 years of our marriage. We then built a house on the land behind that house. Our 22-year-old son now lives in that house. The view is incredible as well as very meaningful. I love that we are able to keep up the land and farm in honor of my dad.