Taubert fights cancer with determination and a smile

Published 4:55 pm Monday, October 17, 2016

For Dodie Taubert, attitude is everything even when battling breast cancer and subsequent bouts of the disease.

“My message, the only thing I can say, is attitude is everything,” Taubert said by phone from Arlington, where she continues her treatments. “I have a new motto – sometimes you have to fight the battle more than once to win the battle.”

Her positive attitude shines through and she often hears people comment on it.

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“Not everyone can have the attitude I have. If not for faith in Jesus Christ, I wouldn’t have that attitude,” Taubert, of Port Neches, said.

She was diagnosed with stage 1 lobular invasive carcinoma in 2010. She underwent a double mastectomy and learned the cancer was a bit more aggressive and the diagnosis was bumped to stage 2.

“When you’re told you have it, it’s almost like you don’t realize it until you go through it,” she said. “It’s like you’re numb to it all. Sometimes people say they don’t know how I do what I do. But I never cried. I was ready to put it behind me.”

After the double mastectomy, she underwent six months of chemotherapy from April to of 2011, then reconstructive surgery that December.

During this time her daughters were 13 and 17; now they’re 18 and 21. Both are now in college pursing a career in nursing.

She was a five-year survivor of breast cancer when it metastasized to the liver and bones — that’s when everything changed.

“I went for my checkup, I had started having pain in my back and thought it was my sciatic nerve,” she said. “I told (friend and fellow breast cancer survivor) Bonita Segura and she said I should get an X-ray. That’s when they saw a spot on my liver and seven spots on my bones.”

MD Anderson Cancer Center offered a treatment plan for Taubert that she felt was not very promising. She knew Segura had been successfully treated at Arlington Cancer Center and scheduled an appointment. By June 10 she underwent surgery to have 60 percent of her liver removed.

“MD Anderson said they wouldn’t touch it. I’m not talking bad about them. They go by a certain protocol.”

Dodie Taubert, left, and longtime friend Bonita Segura pose for a photo in Arlington where Taubert undergoes treatment for breast cancer. Courtesy photo

Dodie Taubert, left, and longtime friend Bonita Segura pose for a photo in Arlington where Taubert undergoes treatment for breast cancer.
Courtesy photo

Once she went to Arlington, she was given drugs that target specific areas and cell mutations and also given a full body scan, something she said wasn’t performed in Houston.

“My prognosis has gotten better since coming to the Arlington Cancer Center. The prognosis they are giving me in Arlington is very, very promising,” she said. “Dr. Karle Dicke, my oncologist, is looking at a long term survival plan for me.”

Due to weekly treatments in Arlington, Taubert has had to lease an apartment there and is not capable of working her 40 hour week. She has no idea how long she will be there and has signed a new lease on the apartment.

Bonita Segura has been a source of support for Taubert during the journey with cancer.

“We had a connection even before cancer because I had already been diagnosed (with breast cancer). I was there for her and I understood,” Segura said. “Some people say they understand, but not until you go through it. You think your world is coming apart and you’re going to die. Thank God she had me.”

Segura has known Taubert for 25 years; their children grew up together and they had stayed really good friends.

She recalled helping Taubert land a job, the same job she had gotten when the cancer came back.

“She was working with me for about three weeks and was complaining of lower back pain, like a pinched nerve. I just lost it,” Segura said.

She helped with Taubert’s decision to go to Arlington, the place that has treated her own cancer.

“It is so important to have support,” she said. “Support as a friend or from a doctor that is in tune to saving your life. That’s a key. Like what Dodie said about attitude and faith. Without my faith I don’t know where I’d be. Every time I got down God’s healing restored me over and over. I realized I’m not in control.”

When Taubert and Segura were in Arlington, there was a decision to go with an aggressive program or die. But if she does not take the treatment she’ll die anyway.

Segura, whose has battled breast cancer and is now battling bone cancer, still stands by and supports her friend Taubert. A benefit for Dodie Taubert is set for 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 12, at the Neches River Wheelhouse, 720 Lee Ave. There will be a silent and live auction, barbecue lunches, live music, 50/50 split the pot washer tournament, door prizes, dunking booth, face painting and games for the kids.

Donations to help with Taubert’s financial needs can be made to Neches Federal Credit Union, account no. 59432-1. Write “Dodie Taubert Benefit” in memo. Donations may be made at all Southeast Texas locations or by calling 722-1174.