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Ep. 068: Defying All Odds Against Breast Cancer with Brooke Clay Taylor

Co-host Katy Starr chats with Brooke Clay Taylor aka Rural Gone Urban about her life in agriculture and journey through having a baby and battling triple-negative breast cancer at the same time. ** For EVERY episode download on the Beyond the Barn podcast from October 1 through October 31, 2023, Standlee will donate $1 to the Rural Gone Urban Foundation Love Bombs grant program** Share, share, SHARE! Tell your friends, tell your family, tell your neighbors to download this episode on Apple, Spotify or Google Podcasts apps. Help us take part in making a DIFFERENCE!

Episode Notes

**This is campaign is now closed. Thank you to everyone who helped Standlee donate money to the Rural Gone Urban Foundation by downloading episodes in October 2023**

For EVERY episode download on the Beyond the Barn podcast from October 1 through October 31, 2023, Standlee will donate $1 to the Rural Gone Urban Foundation Love Bombs grant program.

Share, share, SHARE! Tell your friends, tell your family, tell your neighbors to download this episode on Apple, Spotify or Google Podcasts apps. Help us take part in making a DIFFERENCE!


On this episode, co-host Katy Starr chats with Brooke Clay Taylor aka Rural Gone Urban about her life in agriculture and journey through having a baby and battling triple-negative breast cancer at the same time including:

  • How her agricultural roots have fueled her adventurous soul even before her breast cancer diagnosis
  • The unvarnished reality about how caregivers can best provide support to their loved ones battling breast cancer, and what NOT to do
  • The life changing gift she is sharing with women in the trenches with breast cancer through her Rural Gone Urban Foundation’s Love Bombs

She’s witty, she’s gritty, and she’s more genuine and authentic than most people you know. Get the tissues on stand-by for this riveting and heartwarming conversation that may just challenge the way you live your daily life. 

Have a topic idea or feedback to share? We want to connect with you! Email


Connect with Brooke Clay Taylor aka Rural Gone Urban - 

Website –

Instagram –

Facebook –


Learn more about the Rural Gone Urban Foundation – 

Website –

Facebook –

Instagram –


Find breast cancer support resources here.

Make a donation to the Rural Gone Urban Foundation


Listen to our past episodes honoring those going through breast cancer and treatments – 




  • *Views and opinions expressed by guests are their own and do not necessarily reflect the view of Standlee Premium Products, LLC.*

Katy Starr (00:00:01):

Hi, I'm Katy.


Dr. Tania Cubitt (00:00:02):

And I'm Dr. Cubitt. We're going Beyond the Barn. Come join us on this journey as we bust equine and livestock nutrition myths, and interview some of the most intriguing experts in the country.


Katy Starr (00:00:15):

We'll go behind the scenes of how premium Western Quality Forage is grown and brought to your favorite farm and ranch retail store. We're so glad you're here.


Katy Starr (00:00:29):

In today's episode, you will have a chance to be a part of something that will positively impact so many others just by simply downloading this episode and any other Beyond the Barn episode this month. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Think about your sister, your aunt, or your mother who has battled breast cancer, or maybe yourself. Maybe you've been the one on the other side of receiving a breast cancer diagnosis. shares that one in eight US women, which is about 13%, will develop invasive breast cancer over her lifetime. For every downloaded episode on the Beyond the Barn podcast, from October 1st through October 31st, 2023, Standlee will donate $1 to the Rural Gone Urban’s Foundation’s love bombs. Love bombs provide well-deserved grants for women battling breast cancer. This gives them an opportunity to truly take care of themselves in the midst of it all and to make and preserve memories with their families.


Katy Starr (00:01:29):

If we get 1000 downloads, we'll donate $1,000. If we get 2000 downloads, we'll donate $2,000. If we receive more downloads, then we'll donate more money. So share this with your family, friends and colleagues. Share this on your social media pages and in your Facebook groups. Help us support anyone who may receive this devastating diagnosis in the future. We have a phenomenal guest on today's episode who, in her words, has been in the trenches with breast cancer while becoming a new mom all at the same time. And she's sharing her experiences along with a legacy she is building for her family and those, as she puts it, “in the ring” with cancer. She's witty, she’s gritty and defying all odds. You're going to love her.


Welcome back to another episode of Beyond the Barn. Our next guest is a brand strategist for small rural businesses and the founder and board chair for the Rural Gone Urban Foundation. The day she gave birth to her daughter, she was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer. K own for dishing out the "real reel,” she's beating the odds and gracing us with her impactful story. I'd like to welcome Brooke Taylor to the Beyond the Barn podcast, aka Rural Gone Urban. Thanks for joining us, Brooke!


Brooke Clay Taylor (00:02:49):

Thank you for letting me hang out with you today!


Katy Starr (00:02:53):

So kind of just to get us started, why don't you tell us a little bit about growing up and your background in agriculture?


Brooke Clay Taylor (00:03:01):

Absolutely. So I was born in Central Indiana where my family is historically grain farmers. My dad and mom relocated us to Perkins, Oklahoma when I was about to start sixth grade, and that's where I claim home. I grew up on a cattle ranch, a cow-calf operation, and I mean, I'm just your typical, grew up on a red dirt road, Oklahoma girl.


Katy Starr (00:03:26):

That's awesome. So how did Rural Gone Urban kind of come to fruition? What was your inspiration for that and how that get started?


Brooke Clay Taylor (00:03:36):

Sure. I love that you asked me this because not many people do . So, Rural Gone Urban was actually started right after I graduated from college, Oklahoma State University. My roommate, Dallyn and I were both rural girls who moved to Oklahoma City to pursue our careers and we were roommates and at the time blogging was not very many people were blogging. And so we started a co-blog, Rural Gone Urban, and we really just shared what it was like to be rural girls at an urban setting. And it was just about our shenanigans. It didn't have really strategy, it was just kind of a hobby for us. She ended up moving home to her, you know, rural hometown. And I stayed in an urban setting for many years. I started working in advertising agencies. So the blog kind of followed me to, from Oklahoma City to North Carolina, Texas, Tennessee. I worked in advertising agencies in Wisconsin and Boston. And when it was time to launch my own business, I couldn't think of a better name than Rural Gone Urban. I just kind of transitioned that blog into a more professional setting and it just kind of stuck. But now you could kind of say I'm rural gone urban, gone rural.


Brooke Clay Taylor (00:04:49):

But it takes me back to urban settings quite a lot. So it just stuck and yeah, honestly, people just associated me with that name and it just makes sense.


Katy Starr (00:04:58):

Yes. Well, and I think it's really neat just for you to have that experience of being from a rural setting and going into an urban setting because not a lot of rural folks get that opportunity, or maybe they don't want it, but I think it's so important for being able to make some true connections to mm-hmm. , you know, the outside world and bringing them into our world and inviting them into our space and letting them know about who we are in agriculture and why it's so important.


Brooke Clay Taylor (00:05:29):

Absolutely. So I have two trains of thought on that, and the first is when I came out of college, which to age myself, I graduated from graduate school in 2010, and at that time, remote jobs were not on the radar, working remotely from home on your ranch or on your farm. That was just not something you could do. And so I wanted to pursue mass media, working in advertising. My only option was an urban setting. And to your point, that's the other train of thought, is we're communicating to consumers, you know, for food, our fibers. And so to live where you're communicating amongst your target audience, like that's a POV, that is really hard to teach someone. And I just was a target audience.


Katy Starr (00:06:18):

Yeah, yeah. And now you get to live, I guess, your, almost your dream lifestyle of being back in that rural setting because of technology, which is amazing.


Brooke Clay Taylor (00:06:30):

Yeah. So I launched Rural Gone Urban, the consulting business in 2017, and I did, so living in my dad's horse barn, I moved into the apartment my horse barn, or in his horse barn, it seemed like the right place, the right season. And now I live in a small town in eastern Oklahoma. I think there are 22 kids in my kids' class, not her actual class, like her grade. It's a small-town rural lifestyle and thank goodness for internet.


Katy Starr (00:06:58):

That's so great. Yeah. And so before we get into the heart of today's conversation, can you share with us a few of your favorite things that you've been working on in your world of brand strategy and the business side of your life?


Brooke Clay Taylor (00:07:14):

Yes, absolutely. So I have traditionally two types of clients, and one of them are small businesses where it's more of a hybrid of consulting and coaching. So I take business owners one-on-one and instead of let me do it for you, which is more of the agency style, it's teach a man to fish and I really, you know, share my knowledge or education base. And it's let's do it together while you learn. And then on the other side, it is the, let me use my experience and my tenure as marketing strategist and I'll do it for you. And I have this amazing client in Texas, it's called, oh my goodness, is their website. And they have the most incredible business. And I get to work on their strategy from the ground up, all of their different programs. And what they do for farms and ranches is they come in and they help teach more of the commodity trading and how that works and how that impacts their marketing programs. And because there is this gap and you have to market your product, but also your expertise is being a farmer or rancher. So where is that, that middle ground of help let us fill in the gap? And that's been really fun.


Katy Starr (00:08:27):

That's awesome. Yeah, that hat of being a farmer or rancher, you really have to know a number of different skills of literally how to do everything. So that yeah, that's crazy. And I bet that's so helpful.


Brooke Clay Taylor (00:08:41):

Right. It is so fun. I think as a female, you know, I see a lot on my algorithms online of coaches teaching master classes, and it's really that concept of having a master class. It's a 12 month program, it's really incredible.


Katy Starr (00:08:58):

Yeah. That's so, that's so neat. Okay, so can kind of getting into the nitty gritty of today's conversation, this is a, this is an important thing that's very close to my heart. It hits very close to home, but it hits even closer to your home. And so I'm really excited for you to kind of be able to share a little bit about your story that you've been experiencing over the last few years. And so obviously though you're no stranger to the curve balls of life, 2019 was a bit of a double-edged sword for you and kind of unbelievably life changing. So talk to us about your life experiences that occurred during this time.


Brooke Clay Taylor (00:09:39):

Sure. So I like to think that nothing good stands alone. There's always trials that we face, like good and bad happen at the same time. So in 2019, I'm newly married to my high school best friend, not sweetheart, but best friend. And you know, we're on top of life. We're expecting, my business is thriving. I'm working on a lot of really fun production projects at the time. And was really interesting that as a digital strategist, I actually kept the news of being pregnant off of the internet because I wanted to keep it for myself. And yeah, I thought it would be this really fun surprise that was like, hey internet. Fun fact, guess what grew an entire human. I had a baby . And so that was my strategy for being pregnant. And while I was pregnant, being a first-time mom, I didn't know what I didn't know.


Brooke Clay Taylor (00:10:37):

And I noticed a lump on my breast and I took it to my healthcare provider and I was told that was just part of being pregnant. I wish I could go back in time and shake that 32-year-old woman and say, that's not what we do. We're an advocate and we stand up for ourselves. I did eventually do just that on my 38-week appointment. I did take my shirt off in that appointment. I said, I'm not leaving this room until you feel this. It's not surprising that I met a breast health specialist the very next morning, which was a Friday. And on Friday morning, or Monday morning, he called me at 8:00 AM and he said, Hey kiddo, it's cancer. About 30 minutes later I got a phone call from my OB that said, hey, why don't you come on and head in, let's make a plan today.


Brooke Clay Taylor (00:11:19):

He called me not very long after that and he said, you know what, I've already met with all your healthcare team, which I didn't even know that I had a healthcare team. Like they created one for me. I had an oncologist I'd never even heard about. And I became a mom that day around two o'clock. And so here I am in shell shock of here's a baby that I didn't even know her gender because we wanted that to be special to us. I'm so glad that we waited until that day to learn because it was just so overwhelming in that c-section room that I get to be a mom to a girl. And also as it turns out, not only did I grow a baby, I grew cancer at the same time.


Brooke Clay Taylor (00:12:04):

So, as you can imagine as a business owner for anyone who is, who is listening, you're just in this kind of shell shock ness of what is going on. Like this is, this is too much for one human to just comprehend. And as I was pushing my suitcase into the hospital, because first time mom, of course I was overly prepared, the hospital bag was packed and I was calling my colleagues and my vendors and I said, I'm going to go on maternity leave a little early, and also I have cancer. Please don't cry. I'm not ready for tears. And I would just like hang up on them. And I'm confident I caused immense amounts of trauma on those phone calls and it was just this wild, like, I can't even, it's so hard for me to even describe that day because I think parts of my body have completely blocked it out. So the best day of my life and the biggest curve ball of my life on the same day.


Katy Starr (00:13:05):

So crazy. And I think about this from the perspective. I'm a mom as well. And so I remember what it was like having a baby and the things that you had to go through postpartum mm-hmm. , which was hard. It was rough, but you had to do that while having chemo and treatment and all of that stuff.


Brooke Clay Taylor (00:13:30):

So I, this is probably not the right word to say, but thankfully I only know what being a mom is like while having a cancer diagnosis. I think in a lot of ways, only knowing that made it easier. I didn't have any way to compare it to, I couldn't say, well, the last time I did this, I just got to like, you know, soak up the baby snuggles for so many weeks. I was just thrown into the fire. So they did tell me, they said, kiddo, you have seven days to be a mom. Do nothing else but be a mom and then we're going to figure this out. And so on day seven, she was exactly a week old. I had to quarantine from her for 24 hours because I had a PET scan, which requires radiation, requires a tracer so that you could have the scan.


Brooke Clay Taylor (00:14:15):

So I was at that time the most dangerous human to my newborn baby. And I was thrown into a week of scans. And it's wild to think about and it's especially wild to know that I'm not a unicorn. I'm not the only mom that this has happened to who's received the same diagnosis the same day. However, there's not very many of us, which means the resources and the guidance is not there. So it was, you know, on that scan week I had a MUGA heart scan which just basically make sure that your heart is strong enough to withstand chemotherapy. And it was, I was receiving the scan when they said, oh, be sure not to be around any small children for so many hours. And I said, my newborn is in the car with my husband, like right now in the parking lot.


Brooke Clay Taylor (00:15:05):

Right. And so I live an hour and a half away from the treatment center, so I had to find someone to take me home because I couldn't get in the car with my baby. And I also couldn't drive because I wasn't cleared from having a C-section. So , which is why my husband and the baby were in the parking lot. Yeah. And so it's just like this wild things that, like what I should have been figuring out was how to breastfeed. I should have had those curve balls, but instead it was okay, you had this chemo called the red devil in the streets and it causes you to have pink sweat chemo or you know, pink. Oh, I cannot, I'm so flustered thinking about this. Pink tinted chemo sweat, which you cannot get near your newborn. So your baby is crying in her bassinet. You're covered in a hot flash because your hormones have crashed and you can't touch your baby without taking a shower first. It, I know that sounds crazy. And to the average person, like it just sounds nuts, but when you're in it, I didn't know any different. It was just like, this is what I have to do, so I'm just going to do this. Which I think is just what we do in agriculture, it's what we're trained to do, honestly, is just to do it, pull yourself up by your bootstraps and just get it done.


Katy Starr (00:16:22):

Right. Well, and I know I've heard you say before when people have asked you, you know, how do you, how do you do this? How do you stay so positive in all of this? And your response is, well you would be doing, you know, you have to go through it, you don't have a choice. You have to do it. And so it's not really an option.


Brooke Clay Taylor (00:16:46):

It isn't an option. And this is going to sound very extreme, but the option, you do have an option. The option is do it or graduate to heaven.


Katy Starr (00:16:57):



Brooke Clay Taylor (00:16:58):

And I don't know about you, but when I'm staring a newborn in the eyes, if they're open, which is new , I'm not graduating to heaven. Like at the time I remember thinking, do I get to see her first birthday? Yeah. because truly I didn't know. I didn't know if that was possible. And I prayed my entire life to be a mom. Yeah. And I finally got it. And now I don't know if I get to know her. And as a mom, that mama bear instinct kicks in and the wildest things come through your brain. And I know that you could say this just going through postpartum, the regular old-fashioned way of postpartum and that's you immediately put this baby in first priority. And I remember thinking at one point, it might be better if this baby doesn't bond with me. It might be better if her dad holds her more than I do in case in case cancer is more of a jack wagon than I'd prefer. And it might be an easier transition for her. And like, I'm proud of myself for thinking that way, but also, oh, I wish I could go back to 2019 and hug that mom because how unfair.


Katy Starr (00:18:07):

Yeah. Oh, especially not being able to have the resources that, and I know we'll talk a little bit more about this as we go on in our conversation could, because you've taken your experience to try to make things better, And so I'm really excited as we get going further what you're going to share about that. So that'll be so great. But so you, specifically though you had triple negative breast cancer with the BRCA-1 gene. And so for those that are kind of unfamiliar with that, can you speak to that a little bit more and if they're actually like connected in some way?


Brooke Clay Taylor (00:18:45):

Sure. So I was unaware until this happened that I am a carrier of the BRCA-1 gene mutation, which is a gene mutation that is inherited. It's not a cancer cell, or a cell went rogue. It's, I received it from my dad who received it from his dad. We now know he received it from his dad, which is probably goes against every cancer movie plot you've ever watched that. Also my girl, my only cousin is also a female and she received it too from her dad. I don't know what's going on in my family tree. Anyway, so triple negative breast cancer is a more aggressive type of breast cancer. So when you think of, especially me being pregnant, I would say most people immediately thought, oh, this is because it was, you know, estrogen driven. She was pregnant, she had a lot of estrogen in her body. So there are three hormone receptors that they can see in breast cancer. And triple negative means my cancer is negative to all of those. So it wasn't driven by any hormones, which makes it more aggressive because there are less treatment options for that type of cancer. It is connected. So typically based on the research, triple negative breast cancer affects women who, the majority of women who have a BRCA-1 or two gene mutation are a person of color or under 40. And so as you can imagine, those are underserved populations as far as...


Brooke Clay Taylor (00:20:25):

...just awareness of knowing to, “feel it on the first” is a campaign that happens. Like we don't get regular screenings, we're not even old enough to get a mammogram. So that is part of the reason it's so aggressive is because it is typically caught a little later.


Katy Starr (00:20:39):

Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. And so going through this whole experience, you went through the treatments and everything, but after being declared cancer...


Brooke Clay Taylor (00:20:51):

The entire breast cancer treatment buffet, it's just a whole buffet of treatment. So I think a lot of people think of it as being like chemo. Like you're going to do chemo and you're fine. And it's like, for your friend who might go through cancer, like that's like phase one. There are so many more phases after that. That's just like a small piece of the treatment. The traditional treatment.


Katy Starr (00:21:12):

So what did, if you don't mind sharing what, what did you experience with that?


Brooke Clay Taylor (00:21:18):

So say a person is diagnosed, you're going to go through testing, you're probably going to have a port placed, so you're going to have some sort of surgery. They might check your lymph nodes, depending on the type some people have surgery before chemo. I had surgery after chemo, so I went through four different types of chemo drugs. I had some side quests in there and then I had a staph infection and like a case of the shingles. So like some surprise surgeries, some don't hold your baby with this arm because like, you know, a staph infection might hurt your child. Then I did have a mastectomy, so I like to call that an amputation. I feel like that more accurately describes that. Like your body parts are being removed. From there I went through radiation, so that was 25 rounds of radiation where you go to the hospital every day.


Brooke Clay Taylor (00:22:11):

And honestly I think radiation has kind of this thought process of oh, it's not that bad compared to chemo, it was very hard for me. It causes fatigue. Your skin is burning, it's not a great time. From there because of having the gene mutation and my age, I also had a heightened risk of having ovarian cancer. So I had an oophorectomy and a hysterectomy before my child's first birthday. So I officially joined the Golden Girls Club, no hormones over here, . And then I had reconstruction surgery. So that entire process took about a year and a half.


Katy Starr (00:22:52):

That's a lot. That's a lot in a year and a half.


Brooke Clay Taylor (00:22:54):

That's a lot. So when you think about the statistics of if you were to dive into research, it usually takes about 18 months to recover from having a baby.


Katy Starr (00:23:02):



Brooke Clay Taylor (00:23:04):

I once had a doctor recently going over my medical history, like I forgot that I had a C-section, like it was such a minor part of that season, but standalone that is a very impactful surgery to your body. And I was like, oh yeah, I guess I did have that. I just forgot. It just seemed insignificant compared to the other pieces. So treatment big, it's like a big elephant, one bite at a time.


Katy Starr (00:23:33):

So you went through this, you went through this whole gamut and you know, so amazingly you were declared cancer free, which, you know, gave you that opportunity to kind of have that outlook like, you know, here I am really just probably having this perspective of soaking in these moments with your young child that sometimes we forget to do. And it came back though, with a vengeance, stage four metastatic breast cancer.


Brooke Clay Taylor (00:24:06):

Statistically it shouldn't have returned, statistically it shouldn't have. I was a complete response to chemo at time of surgery, which meant nothing was found in any of the pathology at the time of surgery. And then radiation was supposed to lower it down to like 1% chance that it could even return. And that's just not how triple negative works. Like, it's just aggressive. And so unknowingly there were cancer cells hiding in my body the whole time. And I just went back to being a mom and a business owner. And I took on incredible clients and I hosted a retreat. I started speaking on some stages and I just soaked up the time of being a wife and a mom. And I had a great time. And then Christmas of, I guess it was 2021, we were leaving the ranch at my dad's house and I noticed I had a swollen lymph node on my neck, which was weird.


Brooke Clay Taylor (00:24:57):

I've never had a swollen lymph node in my life, but my entire family was sick. We all had Covid and so like the whole family, I wasn't, you know, giving other people Covid. So we were, we were being fine. And I just remember thinking, that is strange, but everyone's sick, so that's normal. A couple weeks went by and I was like, I should go to the doctor. So I went to the doctor, I did a round of antibiotics because every, everyone was sick. It felt like everyone was sick in the state of Oklahoma. And then I spoke at a conference in Western Kansas. And I was driving back from that conference headed to the Tulsa airport to fly to Tennessee to host an event in Tennessee. And people started posting photos of me on stage. And this is going to sound really crazy, but I know the women listening can relate to this.


Brooke Clay Taylor (00:25:42):

When you look in the mirror, like you just see your face, you don't really see your whole body. And I knew I'd put on a couple lbs, but it was Christmas time, it was winter, stretchy pants, whatever. Well people started posting photos of me and I was like, that can't be the way I look. That can't be it. I look like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. And I'm not trying to hate on myself here. I'm saying if you were to take a photo from like November and a picture of me on stage in February and put them side by side, I was like, what in the inflammation is going on in my body?


Katy Starr (00:26:13):

A lot happened in a very short amount of time.


Brooke Clay Taylor (00:26:16):

I just got to check in with my oncology team in December. Right. And so I went and I was like, this is wrong. So I got back from that or you know, that event in Tennessee and I called my team, I was like, you've got to bring me in. Something's wrong. I don't know what it is. I don't know if my thyroid is broken, which is something that could be caused by chemo. I don't know. Something is broken on me. And they said, do you have any pain? And I said, no, I feel fine. I just look like Violet from Willy Wonka like roll me down to whatever that secret room is and get this, like figure this out. And so we went and they did some blood tests and gosh they have such good poker face. They're like, you know what?


Brooke Clay Taylor (00:26:54):

Just come on in for a PET scan. Let's just be safe. You haven't had one in a while. And it was a snowstorm in Tulsa that day, March 11th, 2022. And they called me at like eight because the city of Tulsa shutting down like it is, we're in the middle of a situation. And they said, are you going to be able to come in today? And I knew it because otherwise they would've been like coming on Monday. And I was like, I'll be there. So I drove side roads. All the way to the treatment center. And then I went back to my best friend's house where I quarantined because I couldn't be around my child. And March 11th is actually the day that my dad passed away from cancer when I was six years old. And so I'm not trying to say that life has a funny way of like twisting the knife.


Brooke Clay Taylor (00:27:39):

I'm just saying strange things happen. And that day it said Dr. Cole Cell on my phone and I just immediately started crying because I knew and he let me know that it was back. And I said, where, and he listed and his list was very long and the list was neck, clavicle, ribs, lungs, spine and your pelvis. And I told him, because I lost my dad when I was six years old to cancer. I said, I need you to know right now that I choose my daughter over anything selfish. And I will not have her have terrible memories of me. So I need you to keep that in mind before we have any conversations. And I, what I meant was, if I'm going to graduate, we're going to do this in the right way to cause the least amount of trauma to my child, even if it's hurts me more. Does that make sense? Because I was going at this straight from a mom perspective. Yeah. And he has been so kind and generous throughout the whole process because he heard me and he said, it's not time to have any conversation like that, but I heard you and if we ever need to, we'll talk about it. So this is wild A medicine, you didn't even ask this, but I'm hopping into it. I'm diving into the deep end.


Katy Starr (00:29:02):

No, no. I want to hear it. So please share!


Brooke Clay Taylor (00:29:06):

So there, we live in the year of science and medicine and incredible things are happening, miracles still happen. And you know, it's, it was 30 years to the day that my dad passed away from cancer. . Isn't that crazy? Or well, it's 29 years to the day.


Katy Starr (00:29:26):

You've already gone through so many crazy things. It's like, what is this gameboard of your life?


Brooke Clay Taylor (00:29:31):

It's crazy. It's wild. And so it was 29 years to the day, right? Yes. And so I, on that day also, this Medicis drug came on the market FDA approved for my type of treatment. And so I was immediately able to start this drug, it's called a PARP inhibitor, which is, I'm going to mess up the science of this, but basically it attacks every single cell in my body, every single one. And when the cell is rebuilding, it blocks like the mutated cell, it like blocks that.


Katy Starr (00:30:15):

The one that you had in your body.


Brooke Clay Taylor (00:30:17):

It’s specific for people who were agreeable to a type of cancer or chemo treatment that I had kind of the first go round that's like a platinum base. And then for someone who has, you know, a BRCA gene mutation. And so I was a perfect fit for this drug. And let me tell you, it is exhausting. It comes in a small pill, but it feels just as heavy and just as hard as a traditional chemotherapy drug. And I did ask my oncologist, which I know that the ag target audience who is listening to your podcast will love, I looked him dead in the eyes and I said, am I a GMO? And he looked at me like I was crazy and I was like, am I a genetically modified organism? And he said, technically yes. And I was like, perfect. I'm here for that energy. So I guess technically I'm a GMO now. Anyway, I started that drug in March and I had my first good scan in June. So three months later, and by good scan, I mean in March my scan lit up like a Christmas tree. There were all kinds of bright stuff happening and there were no lights in June and then there were no lights, three months later, three months later, three months later. And just a couple weeks ago there continued to be no lights.


Katy Starr (00:31:37):

And that is amazing. because this you just like, what, a couple weeks ago I think you announced scan your fifth PET scan and with nothing.


Brooke Clay Taylor (00:31:46):

The drug is working the way it's supposed to. And I think if any of us know that, that's not always the case. Like drugs are made all the time for, you know, to do certain things and there are people every day whose drugs do not work for them. And some reason mine is, and I'm grateful and it's a lot. It comes with a lot of care bears, but it's still working.


Katy Starr (00:32:10):

Yeah. Yeah. And it didn't, I felt like at one point you said something about like this diagnosis, right. Stage four metastatic, which basically means it's just spread through every, everywhere in your body. Like you were kind of had like, what did the doctor tell you? Like maybe like 13 months ish?


Brooke Clay Taylor (00:32:29):

So statistically or something like that. A metastatic triple negative breast cancer diagnosis. The average lifespan is 13.1 months, regardless of type of treatment because it is aggressive. You know, there are a lot of variables that come into the what or has it made it to your organs? Where is it in your body? I am happy to say I've made it past those 13.1 months. I'm past it.


Katy Starr (00:32:55):

And that's, it's so exciting when you share that on Instagram. Like, I don't know, I don't know what it looks like on your side, but you know, I don't even know you. Right. I don't, yeah. But I do. because I'm like, oh my gosh, like this is, I could have had the worst day in the world and see that and be like, oh my gosh, Brooke, I am beyond ecstatic for you and your family. Like, this is such an amazing thing.


Brooke Clay Taylor (00:33:20):

It's really, really hard about having a family member. What I can ex experience. I don't have a family member in my opposite situation. Like I am the person, it's, I don't look sick. I still have my hair. You know, I do go to the doctor a lot. Like last summer, I was very sick. I lost count of how many blood transfusions I had because my medicine was affecting my bone marrow in a way, which it's no longer doing that. And so there's this certain way that you expect someone fighting cancer to look and I don't look that way. And so a lot of times people are like, oh, you're fine, you're great. And it's like, oh, actually my medicine makes me very sick and very fatigued. I have to take a nap every day. I usually by seven o'clock I can't do anything else. But it's amazing to be on this side and be like, I don't know why it's working. Because as a community on social media that I'm part of, who I know they've tried this medicine and it didn't work for them. So it's this weird area that you live in and it's, I'm just grateful there's no other way to put it.


Katy Starr (00:34:23):

Right. And you've said before though, that you know everybody's journey is different and that, and I mean that's so true because that's true in everything. Like any kind of things that, you know, our bodies are experiencing, whether it be having a baby or having some kind of illness or something like that. Like we all receive things. Or food. Right. How like our metabolisms like everybody's body receives things differently. And so for you, this has just been such a saving grace.


Brooke Clay Taylor (00:34:54):

Thank goodness. My oncologist calls it miracle times. And I couldn't agree more modern day miracle times.


Katy Starr (00:35:00):

I love that. So when you got this second diagnosis, I remember like, I kind of, you know, went back and did research.


Katy Starr (00:35:13):

But I remember some of these things because I saw it at the time and I remember how emotional you were when you were sharing this. But at this, at that same time, it's like you had this perspective in mind of, okay, like if I have 13 months or less, right? Like I'm going to be living each day to make these core memories with your baby girl and your husband. And so you fit a lot into last year trying to make as many memories as you could, but one that really stuck out to me that I thought was super special, and you can speak on some of the ones that you did because I don't mind that at all. But you had this trip that you guys took to New York for, you know, something for your cousin, but then you had something else you did while you were there.


Katy Starr (00:35:58):

And it just like, also from the perspective of being like a daughter, like, because and my mom had breast cancer and I know I've shared this before, but, you know, and I was so happy that she beat it and everything. But I remember thinking at that age, because I was in middle school, I remember thinking as a middle school age girl, my mind was like, my mom's going to die. Like, that's what I thought about all the time. And so when you shared this story, it really meant a lot because I was like, that could have been me. And like how special of what you were, what you were doing for your daughter. Like, I'm just going to let you share it now though. I'm going to stop talking.


Brooke Clay Taylor (00:36:41):

I’m going to cry telling this story. So we did go into New York and we did go, it was my cousin's college graduation. For her high school graduation, we also went to New York. So we made a repeat trip. And this time we were able to take Elsie because she existed. And Elsie was two years old. And I knew from a fact, from my own history, two year olds don't remember anything. They don't have memories of their own. And I knew how am I going to spend this year making memories with someone who won't remember any of this. But my goal was she can't deny photos, she can't deny the receipts. So we went to New York, which is I think very ambitious to take a two year old to New York. But we did, and we did all of her favorite things. Zoo. We went to the Lion King, which is her favorite. Like I took the girl to Broadway. Like if we're going to have some standards, I want her to know when she's 17 that like I can go and do and be anything. Like, I don't need to be scared. Like I've already been to Broadway, like I'm two. And so


Katy Starr (00:37:53):



Brooke Clay Taylor (00:37:54):

So I took this two-year-old baby to Tiffany's. And I know this story sounds nuts because it is, and I am 0% embarrassed on how bougie and over the top and cliche this is. But you cannot stand it in the way of a mama trying to protect her baby. And I knew that statistically still, let's be honest, statistically still, there is a very high percentage that I will not be there for milestones, like high school graduation or college graduation or her wedding, or her first baby. And so we picked out presents that she will open on those days from me and we picked them out together. We literally ran all around Tiffany's, imagine a toddler being like, mama, that's pretty


Brooke Clay Taylor (00:38:57):

And you're like, no, no, no, that one costs $20,000. Look on the other one . And she, and when I tell you like she picked them out, we picked them out together. We took videos and photos of us together with that jewelry. And so while she may not remember it, she will have photos and she'll say, my mom gave this to me so she could be here today. Because you can, I know without a doubt if I'm not there, and I know it because my own experience, my dad passed away when I was six. And I remember those special moments and I remember looking around being like, my dad is supposed to be here. I don't remember his voice and I don't remember a lot about him, but it just feels like there's this hole. And so how can I make myself present on those days?


Brooke Clay Taylor (00:39:49):

And I'll tell you, I did go into this. I only had the three milestones picked out. Okay. I only had three. And yeah, there was this one she kept going back to and it has a little ladybug. It's a little, it's a very dainty bracelet. And it has a ladybug with some stuff on it, which is kind of silly. Tiffany's, I don't know. And I was like, oh, I'm definitely buying this. So we got that. And what's crazy is that summer kids are kids, you know, if you have kids or you're around kids, you know, kids are crazy. She asked me with, I guess within the past year, I've called her buggy since she was a little kid. Just come on buggy. That's like my nickname for her. She's just a little bug. She goes, mom, I think I'm a ladybug.


Brooke Clay Taylor (00:40:32):

Yeah. And I said, you're a what? And she goes, I think I'm a ladybug. She doesn't remember this bracelet. , I haven't showed it to her. She doesn't like it is gone from her memory. They are in the safe. They are packaged in their turquoise boxes. She does not know. And so there's this ladybug bracelet that she'll receive from me on the day she becomes a mama and it's a ladybug. And now she has requested her own nickname, is Ladybug. And I just cannot get over how the world just kind of gives you these memories on a platter sometimes.


Katy Starr (00:40:59):

That's so beautiful.


Brooke Clay Taylor (00:41:00):

And so yeah. God blessed those people working that day that had a crying blubbering mama and a two year old picking out jewelry. They quickly figured out what was happening and they made it a tremendous experience.


Katy Starr (00:41:25):

I imagine that they did. That's so great. I love that they did that for you. Ugh, that's it. And I love that. I love that story. Yeah. It's so great. And then you went on and you did some other really fun things last summer.


Brooke Clay Taylor (00:41:40):

Awesome memories. I went to Disney because every child loves Mickey Mouse. And it was important to me to take her to Disney eventually because my dad had always told me that when I was old enough he would take me to Disney and he passed away before I was able to go. So my grandma and aunt took me and I was like, nope, that's not happening. I'm taking this baby. So we went to Disney, we saw Mickey, we did the whole thing. And then my in-laws took us, you know, we went on a cruise with the whole family. In New York, one of my high school friends is the coach for the Mets. So he let Elsie onto the field. She like ran around on the field. Oh, nice. So she just, we did a lot of things and then it kind of came crashing down for a little bit because I got really sick.


Brooke Clay Taylor (00:42:20):

My medicine that's saving my life also was hurting my life for a while. I had quite a few blood transfusions. We figured it out. It's no longer an issue. But that was really scary. And we just kind of did all the big things, anything that we could do. And still to this day we say yes. And I say this, I'm just this mom now. Like I'm yes man, if you want to do it and it's going to make a memory. Yes. Period. Yes. I was asked to be the grand marshall in a parade for my hometown. And I said, yes, the theme happens to be Disney. And did I find a way to make sure that there is a Mickey mascot riding in the car with us? Yes. Because my three-year-old, four-year-old, she's four now, will be able to look back and I guarantee she'll remember that time she rode in a parade with Mickey, with Mickey Mouse. Like who wouldn't? So I'm a memory maker.


Katy Starr (00:43:08):

I love that so much. Yeah. Oh, she's going to enjoy that so much. What has it been like sharing your cancer journey? Did you always think that you'd be really transparent, as transparent as you have been? Or were there kind of ever moments of hesitation for you?


Brooke Clay Taylor (00:43:25):

That's a good question. So I built a career in storytelling. So working for advertising agencies, it was really my job to help curate the stories for big brands, national and international food and agricultural businesses. And so I've always been behind the scenes, right. The producer, the copywriter, the whatever. And so when this happened, I just remember thinking how hard it was to find other people in my shoes. And I thought if I tell my story, someone else is going to be able to find this and and be less scared. Right, to see someone, yes less alone.


Brooke Clay Taylor (00:44:05):

And I just remember searching, wanting to find anyone else who was also bald with a newborn, nursing a chemo hangover. And so I just started, and then I found this community of women also in this trenches. I found this wonderful woman, Molly, who also had a newborn going through treatment. She was a week ahead of me. And I found Maria, who also, I kid you not found out about her cancer diagnosis the same day she had her baby. And I wouldn't have found that community had I not shared. And what I found was, I was brave enough to tell it how it really was. I just remember, showing like, there is this, this is going to sound nuts and it is, but there is like this expectation of someone going through cancer that you are going to be inspiring and you're going to be grateful and you are going to be kind and you're just going to be a perfect little cancer student because everyone's praying for you.


Brooke Clay Taylor (00:45:15):

And that's your job now. And I remember thinking, this actually kind of sucks too. And I think it's okay that we talk about that. I think it's okay that we talk about six months ago I had luscious beautiful hair and now I look like Uncle Fester. I think that's okay. And yeah, I did order a wig from my child off Amazon so she could wear a Wendy wig and I put like black makeup everywhere and was Uncle Fester. I took my husband a very long time to mentally recover from that image. But I just like really 


Katy Starr (00:45:55):

You owned that so well. I was like, yeah, she wins Halloween this year.


Brooke Clay Taylor (00:45:59):

Yea and what you couldn't see behind the scenes, like I have not left the living room all day. Like I couldn't do anything. But I think it's okay that this is the toughest season of your life and it's also, you're also having really great quality time with your family and your friends and your baby. And it's okay that it's both. And I mean, I guess I was just looking back, I was just brave enough to share both sides of it. And the real reel. And sometimes the real reel is scary and terrible, you know?


Brooke Clay Taylor (00:46:29):

I don't know. I just thought that I could...


Katy Starr (00:46:31):

Well, and you, but you also gave people a space to feel those things because I mean, you know how it can be on social media, right? People tend to put like their best image forward because they have to look a certain way and it can make, I mean, and not that this like that you owe anybody anything at all. But it can make others like, feel like they're not good enough. Like why, how is their life so good? But like when you do that, you're like, oh my gosh, they're just like me. Like they're human just like me. They're going through these experiences and the people that following you that were going through treatment and stuff like that as well could be like, oh gosh. Like she does, she experienced that too. I'm not the only one that has felt that. And I think that connects them to someone that there's something they're missing that, you know, they just are just, they just really desire.


Brooke Clay Taylor (00:47:25):

I felt this mama bear instinct during that season, and I still do. That the whole world tells us women that we're supposed to be a certain way and look a certain way and now all of a sudden you're bald, you have no hair on your body. And when I mean on your body, I mean like not even in your nostrils. Like you, there's nothing. The movies portray cancer treatment as this inspiring situation where you're bald, but hey, you still have eyelashes and you have great cheekbones because you've lost a little weight. But that wasn't, that's not what happened to me. I, looking back, my body and my face is unrecognizable. Like unrecognizable and I do believe there's this juxtapose of here's this, you know, the version of me in college, I was a homecoming queen for a D1 university. Like that's not a beauty contest, but still there's like that, that there's like an essence of like a homecoming queen. And I didn't need to prove to anyone that I looked a certain way, but I also thought it was important that I could show a literally unfiltered moon face with no hair and be like, hey, I'm also beautiful today too because I'm poisoning my body so I can be here for my daughter. And I was like, if I can do this there's other people that can see the beauty in their bravery as well.


Katy Starr (00:48:50):

There's a whole lot of beauty in that. Like, to do that.


Brooke Clay Taylor (00:48:53):

And I think maybe that made a small impact for others.


Katy Starr (00:49:04):

I think so I really do. And you know, obviously me being somebody that, you know, isn't walking that same journey as you, but have I have been following you, you know, social media can be negative. There's a lot of reasons sometimes where I feel like gosh, I don't even know why I'm on this, but then there's certain accounts that I'm like, if I would ever like think to leave it, I would remove myself from all others except for these very few and yours is one of them because I just love that you are true to who you are and what you're experiencing. You do it in such a way where it's like, this is what I'm experiencing, but I'm also not asking for a pity party. You're just being honest. And I just think that you have this beautiful balance that you do with that that just, that shows that how real you are.


Brooke Clay Taylor (00:50:00):

The greatest compliment probably received in my lifetime is I was at dinner with some friends, new friends, I had not met them before. And this one lady said, you are exactly how you are online. And I was like, yeah, that's the point. And she goes, most people are not. And I was like, I don't meet a lot of Instagram friends in real life, so I don't know that answer. But yeah, this is just who I am. I have been asked by people, you know, like, how are you so positive? And so like that stumps me because I don't know the answer. My therapist will probably tell you it's because I experienced trauma at an early age. So, you know, for a lot of people, maybe the hardest season of their life happens when they're in their twenties or their thirties. Like, I attended my dad's funeral when I was six years old.


Brooke Clay Taylor (00:50:48):

I've had trauma, maybe I'm used to trauma. Maybe it made me funnier. There is a meme that said, you know, cancer didn't make me like more inspiring or something, but it did make me funnier. And I'm like, ah, maybe, maybe that is, you're like, I think that might be true if you include dark humor in that. So, or I like to call it realist humor. , it's just like, let's address the elephant in the room. The common denominator in all humans is we're trying not to graduate to heaven earlier than we would like to. Like, that's it.


Katy Starr (00:51:25):

No, I think that's so great. I, yeah, I really, it's so refreshing to kind of see that and yeah, your positivity. There was, I think there was another interview that you did and you were talking about how, you know, going into, you know, your treatments and things like that and like kind of what the oncologists and the oncology nurses like experience day in and day out of. Just like, it's very, it can be very depressing because like they're trying to save people, but there's a lot of times where they can't and, but you made this statement that I just thought was just so wonderful and you said, how refreshing would it be if you know someone made you smile because you would go in and just like, you're like, I'm here, I'm doing it. Like, but I'm going to make the most of it. But then also, like, you're also thinking about them like, here you are going through this huge heavy burden of a, like a beast of a burden. But you are thinking of like, why not make them smile? Like it's just, you're just an awesome person, Brooke, is what I’m trying to say.


Brooke Clay Taylor (00:52:35):

Thank you, well there’s two sides to that. And this is the take all the feeling side out of it. Like, you're in a stark situation, you want the best out of your medical team. Like strategically if you are a kind human, like they're going to want to stay in the room longer, right? Like they already have a million appointments. So like, if you're just going to go for the strategy angle, like maybe being a kind human might help you get a little further. Right. But on the flip side yeah. To what you're saying, like, these people have dedicated their entire lives to helping save people's lives. And like, I don't want them to leave the industry. Like I need them to keep me, keep me kicking, you know? And so I have to be there anyway. I might as well have a good time while I'm doing it. And I think that applies to other things, not just the cancer treatment center. I think there's a lot of things we have to do as humans, grown-ups that we don't want to do. We don't want to go to the DMV, right? Like, well, we have to be there. Might as well have a good time while we're there. Yeah.


Katy Starr (00:53:39):

Don't be a Karen about it. Right.


Brooke Clay Taylor (00:53:40):

Right. Exactly.


Katy Starr (00:53:44):

Yeah, that's it. I just, I just really love that and I really admire that about you.


Brooke Clay Taylor (00:53:49):

Thank you. I'll tell you. So like, got good at getting blood transfusions last year, that was just a trip, right? Like there are like, it is crazy. I didn't even know that there was a whole place dedicated to people getting blood transfusion. That's nuts to me. Anyway, while we were there, I would make my friends come with me. Like, I had like a, someone has to go with me and hang out, like period, who's coming? And it, we turned it into like a tailgating experience, like we would, or order food, which is hilarious. We'd be like on UberEats, we're like, no, the eighth floor, we're on the eighth floor. Anyway, we could tell that, like we could change the mood in the room with the other patients because they're like, oh, I can have a good time. Like, we just started noticing like people started bringing their iPads, it's okay. And like started watching movies. It's like, you know, like, let's, we're here anyway. We have to be here for like a minimum of six hours. What can we do to make this a little brighter? So,


Katy Starr (00:54:45):

Yeah. And not, yeah. I love that. Yeah. That is so good. So good. So you've also, you've lived a life chasing adventures, conquering career pursuits. Like, that's truly the space that you thrive in, right? How did your cancer diagnosis challenge your perspective and your life goals that you had set prior to this?


Brooke Clay Taylor (00:55:08):

So, I would like to say, you know, the Tim McGraw song, like live like you're dying. I have already, I, that's how I lived my life, my whole life, right? Like, I jumped out of an airplane once because I was afraid of heights. Like, I'm not saying I always make good choices, but I'm saying like, that is just who I am. . But I will tell you, cancer, especially this one, the last year, the newest one, diagnosis I mean, it really made me really look at life and, and say, is this worth it? Like, I almost sound like a golden girl, right? Like a cranky golden girl. Not cranky, but kind of that POV of being like, , I just don't have time for the BS of the world. And not that I, like, I'm going to hate on it. Yeah. I just am like, I just know now, without a doubt, it doesn't matter.


Brooke Clay Taylor (00:55:56):

It doesn't, it doesn't matter. Like, so now for like my clients specifically with my business, like unless you are a good person, unless you have incredible passion for what you're doing, like I'm not leading a horse to water. That's not my job. I don't need to convince you to do anything. If you are ready, like, I want to do that because I know I have a finite amount of minutes on this earth and I'm not wasting them on things that don't matter, period. And I wish everyone could have that POV. I really do. You will eventually, like, you know, everyone will eventually,


Katy Starr (00:56:39):

Right? I find the older that you get, the more you become, because I, like 10 years ago, I feel that creeping, right? I feel that the more experiences I have, the more life I have. And then I know in 10, 20 whatever, I know that it will like, but the fact that you were hit with it now, like where this is what it is. There's a very like real possibility that they're, you just don't know. Right. Your pet scans are looking great and that's so awesome. But what happened the time when you got that second diagnosis, everything, what, three months before was fine. And so like the fact that you can come in and be like, I am just taking my time to do what brings me joy and feeds your family, right? Like brings joy to your family.


Brooke Clay Taylor (00:57:27):

Like truly, I can't just go out and be retired, right. I'm doing well. I'm healthy. It still costs to live. Unfortunately, we still have to pay for groceries. And also my deductible starts over every January. And so if I'm going to work, like it's going to be on projects I'm passionate about that, you know, positively impact the earth. Also, we haven't got to this question yet, but like, I spend a lot of time on the foundation because it brings me so much joy. I cannot contain it.


Katy Starr (00:57:59):

Yeah, absolutely. I am so happy that you felt compelled to bring that to life to do that and okay, give me a second because I want to talk about that. But I do have another question. Not to like totally throw people through a loop and be like, okay Katy, I'm going to jump this way and that way, but , I'm going to do it anyway. Because this was another comment that you had made when we were prepping for this. And I thought it was one of the most profound things that I had heard because I never thought about it that way. But you mentioned that no one loses a battle with cancer. So what do you mean by that statement when you say it? Because I know what you mean, but I want to hear it in you words.


Brooke Clay Taylor (00:58:49):

Okay, now that we're going to talk about this, I guarantee that every single one of your listeners is going to be wildly aware of how often they hear this phrase, so-and-so lost their battle with cancer. It's in their obituaries, it's in the Facebook posts. Like it's in common language. When I tell you that is the rudest comment you could possibly say about someone who was brave and strong and walked through the most impossible season of their life. Because when I tell you it is literally impossible for cancer to win because at most it's a tie, at most, I graduate to heaven and cancer also dies with me because my body dies. Cancer cannot win. And so I think that is, think about the most inspiring person in your life who has gone through, you know, a cancer journey. You're telling me that someone who died just wasn't strong enough.


Brooke Clay Taylor (00:59:54):

That they weren't brave enough, that they didn't try their best, that it was their fault. No, I just, I can't get on board with that at all. I just think also it's not a war. Like maybe it does feel like the draft sometimes. Like I get drafted to something I didn't believe in, I guess, you know, put me in 1972. But I just think that's so unfair. It's just like, if I graduate to heaven tomorrow and y'all say that I lost my battle with cancer, I'm going to haunt every one of you in a very kind, loving way because I did it.


Katy Starr (01:00:29):

We will, Brooke, we have this on this episode. Now mark my words. No, you're going to be here. So it's not even going to be an issue. So that's what I throw out there.


Brooke Clay Taylor (01:00:41):

I don't want to come across as like ungrateful and rude and I know it's just like such a trying time. Like you're grieving and you don't know how else to honor this person. I totally understand that. But words are so powerful. Words are so powerful. Like I can tell you looking back last summer when I didn't have enough energy to walk myself to the bathroom because I had Covid, pneumonia, and low hemoglobin that you're telling me that if I peaced out right then it's because I just wasn't strong enough? No.


Katy Starr (01:01:16):

Yep. And that's why I wanted you to talk about this because when you mentioned that, I was like, that's so, so great. And I don't know that, you know, sometimes in hardships people. They don't know what to say. And, and honestly I feel the same way even in situations like this because I'm like, I don't want to say something wrong, but at the same time, like, you know, intentions are good. But that's why I think it's, it's really great that you feel comfortable enough to share and let people know that. Because how else would we know? And I just thought, hey, I mean you could be, you could not be more right about that statement because anybody who does have cancer and has to go through that experience, no, cancer does go down with them and you know, we should be kind of, I guess mm-hmm , redirecting or pivoting if you will, that perspective of they are, they fought hard and they are strong.


Katy Starr (01:02:22):

They are, you know, and this is going to go into kind of another question too, because you are an affirmation queen. Like, but talking about your Rural Gone Urban Foundation, I want you to talk about it and I want you to share what it means to you because you have had these things and I, again, I remember going back and looking, I was like, gosh, I remember her saying these things. I remember when she was going through this and saying these things because you would say, and you would do it with sweet, sweet little Elsie. I am brave. I am strong. And like during some of your treatments you, you would add in there I am Elsie J's mom. Or like, talk to me about all that please because it was just so cool.


Brooke Clay Taylor (01:03:03):

So the first time that popped into my life, it was the day I had a breast, MRI and a mammogram. And my husband and child were in the parking lot waiting for me. Actually I think he took her to a store and he like went shopping for baby things, which I thought was hilarious. And that is the day I found out that there wasn't just one tumor, there were two. And I was sitting there, you know, they moved me from the, the breast MRI to the mammogram. And then I found myself in this other room getting an ultrasound and they left the room so I could get dressed. And I just remember sitting there and I could not turn off the tears. Like it just felt like there wasn't enough oxygen in the room. And I just needed to calm myself down because my husband and my baby were in the room.


Brooke Clay Taylor (01:03:52):

And I also knew that every single one of those nurses were right outside in the nurses' station and I needed to walk past them. And I didn't think I could do it crying because I didn't think I could make it . And I just told her I'm brave, I'm strong, I'm Elsie James’ mom. And I said it so many times until I believed it and I wiped my tears and I smiled and I was completely faking it. And I walked fast and I told him all to have a great day. And I went and got in the car with my husband. And I never even told him at that time that there was a second tumor because it wasn't going to change things for him. It was already scary enough for him. Right. And that just kind of became my mantra. And so I started doing it with Elsie when she was old enough to talk.


Brooke Clay Taylor (01:04:32):

There are videos of I am brave, I'm strong. I'm so cute because she is. On her first day of school I asked her, of pre-k, I asked her at the end of the day, did you have a good day? Did you miss your mom? And she goes, no, because I'm brave and strong. And I was like, well I mom too close to the sun. I thought you'd miss me a little. She didn't . Anyway, so here I am diagnosed with metastatic, allegedly incurable breast cancer with a 13.1 average lifespan months. And all I could think about was, I'm going to die and all of my humans in my life are going to start a scholarship at the local bank. And that's going to be lovely.


Brooke Clay Taylor (01:05:20):

They'll probably do that, right? Like, that seemed like a thing that could probably happen. And I just remember through tears because I was wildly irrational or honestly rational in my grief, however you want to phrase it. And I was talking to a friend and I said, I just want to do it myself because that is who I am. Just like, let me do it myself. And she goes, yeah, just do it yourself. And I was like, do what you know, crying. And she's like, just do it yourself. And I was like, I don't know what that means. And she goes, well what do you want to do? And I said, I just, what if I started a foundation and then I could be in charge of it and I could decide how it is. And then maybe, honestly I said maybe it would redirect some of this attention because it's a lot.


Brooke Clay Taylor (01:05:58):

And I just, I'm not ready to go viral like I did the first time I was diagnosed and this wasn't even, I hadn't even told the world that my cancer was back. And she goes, okay, let's do it. And I said, I don't know how to start a foundation. She goes, ah we can figure it out. So I started this foundation because what I wanted, I knew for a fact this two-year-old was only going to be told about how amazing her mom was. Which, I mean, I am kind of amazing. All right? I mean, I'm joking, but like I know what it's like I lived in the shadows of someone telling me how perfect my dad was. But I also know that this is such a hard world that we live in, that she's already going to be measuring herself up against the immeasurable of like TikTok influencers and whatever the social media is when she's in high school.


Brooke Clay Taylor (01:06:55):

And how also impossible is it that people are like, oh your mom was so perfect, she was a homecoming queen and she owned businesses and whatever. And it's like, oh we need to teach her that we love people no matter what, especially if they're not perfect. Especially, because your mom is not perfect. And so I had this idea of a foundation where we love on brave and strong women and modeled after the three hardest seasons of my life that were also filled with the most silver linings. And the three pillars, the first is scholarships for not straight A students, no GPA required scholarships. There is, we do not ask you for your GPA in the application. And the reason is my high school counselor once told me I should have a plan B for college. because I probably wasn't cut out for it.


Brooke Clay Taylor (01:07:45):

But then I went on to be the outstanding graduate of my college and the homecoming queen of a D1 university. So maybe, first that was rude. Second of all, I was a first gen college student. Like I had to be wildly brave to do that. I was already scared of going to college. And now I had a you know, a person that was supposed to be trustworthy told me I probably wasn't cut out for it. So what if there people just like women, girls just like that who need someone to believe in them. So while the financial contribution is important, I think it's more important that we have a whole committee of people saying like, no, we picked you and we believe in you. And so this last year we gave out $15,000 in scholarships. Crazy.


Katy Starr (01:08:27):

That was amazing. I was so happy for you when you announced that it was so, it was so great.


Brooke Clay Taylor (01:08:34):

So the second pillar is what we call love bombs for women in the ring with cancer and love bombs are to be selfish. Hear me out on this. We do have a lot of applicants who want to use the grant if they're rewarded it to pay for medical bills. Totally understand. I understand the weight of medical bills. I also understand that it's possible to put those on a payment plan because if we're peacing out, we've got to make memories and we've got to do things that are important for our family. There are lots of organizations that help out financially and we do have a resource doc on our website outlining all of those to redirect. But what our grant for is for specifically is for memory making. Hear me out on this as a mom, if you were to go on a very long vacation tomorrow and not return, do you think someone in your life is going to find your phone, have access to your phone, have the financial resources to print every photo on your phone so that your family and children could have access to them?


Brooke Clay Taylor (01:09:35):

Because I probably have like at least 20k photos on my phone all and they're proof that me and my child have spent time together. This grant could be used for that. Photo books aren't cheap. Memories aren't cheap. I don't know that we can spend everyone, you know, to Tiffany's, but like maybe we're, we just awarded a love bomb this last week and a stage four cancer mama who lives in Florida is going to be taking her high school age son on a fishing trip because he, it's like his bucket list item. He wants to go on a deep-sea fishing trip. And I can't imagine anything cooler than the memories that will surround this day. And so we help mamas make memories with their families and escape the crazy. And then because obviously that was wildly difficult for me, like I can't imagine anything else like that day at Tiffany's with my child is priceless.


Brooke Clay Taylor (01:10:32):

The third is grants for small business owners because as rural women we have to find creative ways to be positive and active in our families. Also making sure there's food on the table. Also, knowing that we are geographically limited with our resources. There's not a lot of job opportunities in rural America unless we make them. In fact, when I was going through college I was told you have to leave your small town in order to do something worth bragging home, you know writing home about like that was the only option. And so grants for small business owners to say, we believe in you. We know this is hard. You know, I launched Rural Gone Urban, the consulting arm of Rural Gone Urban, from an apartment in a horse barn with very limited access to internet. And so it was also the most rewarding. I launched in 2017 and by 2018 I was an on-site ag producer for a show that was featured on RFD-TV. You know, traveling the country. Had I not been brave enough to do that, I would've missed out on that whole opportunity. I never would've carved my way to live back in rural America. And so when I tell you that this foundation is so important and it's changing lives, I could simply say it's changing my own life and that would be enough. The fact that it's changing other people's lives is just nuts. It's just nuts.


Katy Starr (01:12:04):

I love all the pillars that you have for your foundation. I think it's really phenomenal because you're providing encouragement and support to people that may otherwise be overlooked sometimes or for things that could be overlooked and your love bombs. I really love that because there's this part of, I think while you're going through this experience that you probably get so caught up in yes. Like what you're going through, the treatments, the medical bills and all this stuff, but sometimes forget to take care of yourself and make sure that the people in your life have you and you have them. Because part of this journey is mental and if you're not feeding that mental side of you, I mean that alone can really just build your strength I think.


Brooke Clay Taylor (01:12:59):

Yeah, 100% percent. So when you're in the trenches of this, the last thing you want to be is more of a burden. So in a lot of ways that's financial. Right. Like either taking time off work, you are costing your family lots of dollars in medical bills. You know, for me I had to let go of some clients because it's kind of hard to work from the chemo chair. It's just hard. And so we say like, we want this grant to be selfish. One of our love grant recipients this past summer, she finished treatment and she used her grant to go to the beach because she was immediately going back to work. And I can't imagine her mental state to a, not only be too young for cancer, but then to also just like go back to work as though nothing happened. And she wrote this incredible guest post on our website where she just shared how valuable that was to her, that she could honor that really tough season in her life and she could honor that, like that was real, that was a real thing that happened to me.


Brooke Clay Taylor (01:14:05):

And I need to honor that before I just go back to everything is fine because it will never be fine. So the day that I received the good news that my scan was clear for the fifth time, I also learned that one of our love bomb recipients graduated to heaven. And the juxtapose was so heavy for me, because I consider her a friend. We'd gotten very close in the past few years. And the drug that's saving me, she also had tried it at one point and it did not work for her. And there is this guilt and this heaviness that goes along with that. And all I could think that day was, I am so glad that the donors of our foundation, that the community around this foundation believe in this program so much that can't tell me that that that time that she spent with her family, because we gave her a love bomb, wasn’t important to her daughter and to her husband? Like that will give them memories for the rest of their life. And so like think about that.


Katy Starr (01:15:23):

That's such a great, thank you for sharing that story.


Brooke Clay Taylor (01:15:26):

Like it's not just the patient, it's their family. Like I've been, I am the daughter of someone who graduated too early, they left and I was still standing there in the trauma. And our work doesn't just impact that person. It impacts their whole world. Their whole bubble.


Katy Starr (01:15:51):

Absolutely. Yeah. It that I'm so glad that you were able to serve her family and her because I think that also, I'm sure she was thinking about that in her last moments was yeah, those good memories. That's amazing. I love, I love this.


Brooke Clay Taylor (01:16:13):

I’ll tell you, it’s full circle. Elsie actually joins every FaceTime. And so when we FaceTimed the recipient last week, she, Elsie, joined the FaceTime and she was like, do you want a love bomb? And like, so we talk about, you know, , what that means, what that is, what we're doing. And you know, we have a gala, you know, in October during Breast Cancer Awareness month. And you know, I talked to Elsie like, why are we having this? What is the gala? Which is not unlike a question I had to ask myself when the committee started talking to me about a gala. I was like, I've never been to one. I don't know what that is. And we talk about why it's important that we raise funds because without funds, without incredible donors, like we can't make this impact. And so this foundation has given me the personal opportunity to have really cool conversations with my kid.


Katy Starr (01:17:05):

I think that's so great. She's going to have such perspective as she grows and matures. Like she's going to have such a great, a positive perspective like that most kids, her age wouldn't. And I think that, I think the way that you're, you know, allowing her to kind of experience some of these things with you to kind of form her mindset because that'll just be so cool to just to see her in her adult age and how she will be involved in making, changing the world. She’s going to be a world changer.


Brooke Clay Taylor (01:17:46):

I don't even care that this is selfish, like for me and what it's doing for me. Right. Like I'm not the recipient of a love bomb. Although I really was right. Like Tiffany's would not have been possible had people not started a GoFundMe and said, go make memories with your kid because, you know, I was letting go of clients. Like I wasn't going to be able to afford to go buy jewelry for my child. Like people made those memories happen for me. So I know what it's like to receive those memories. But also hear me out, I could still graduate at any time. This foundation is starting ripples that my child cannot outrun . And I'm not saying that everyone should start a foundation. It is a lot of work. I don't think that's for everyone. But I do think there are things we can do to ensure our living legacy. What can we do to make sure that if something were to happen to us, that our children or our family, our friends can have peace in a time of really heavy grief. And maybe that is, you know, just write down your thoughts, start a journal, print your photos, start small.


Katy Starr (01:19:00):

Just inspiring people to do something, and everybody's level of what their commitment, I guess it can't all be the same, but everybody has their level of what they can commit to and so they just need to kind of like realize what that is for them. But it's okay to be inspired through things like this to really make you think about that. Because it, you need like do something, do something that's going to make an impact on you and on your family. So yeah. Yeah. I think that's so good. And then so some of the resources that you do have, you talked about that resource hub that you had there. What are some of the things that you have listed there? You don't have to list all of them off, but some of the ones that really kind of come to mind that, because it is sometimes I'm sure it can be very overwhelming not knowing like where to go, what to like who to go to or what to look for. But you have a lot of these resources all in one place.


Brooke Clay Taylor (01:19:56):

Yes. So our love bombs committee, which I'm a part of, we have been working really hard on creating some resources and firsthand accounts of things that would be beneficial to someone who's newly diagnosed. So, you know, some of them offhand are simply a resource doc where we have rounded up everything that we can find and we're still adding to. So I need a wig. Okay, these organizations right here have applications to pay for your wig. I need someone to clean my house. Great. This organization does it the entire time you're going through chemo. We've basically rounded it all up in one place. We've also created kind of our own personal tutorials, I guess of, oh, you have cancer and a newborn, here's everything we had to figure out the hard way. Please take this. You're thinking about cold cap therapy, here's everything we know about it. We're just making it available on the foundation website, which is And, and we're not medical professionals. We are just someone who has sat in the trenches of an impossible situation and we would do anything to make it less terrifying for the next person.


Katy Starr (01:21:03):

Right. And that's great. That just extends that support, which is so wonderful. So if you could go back to that first day that you were diagnosed and that you had Elsie, you know, after everything that you've gone through now, what would you tell yourself is, you know, is there something that you wish you had kind of known that you, you know, that you know now?


Brooke Clay Taylor (01:21:31):

You are the captain of the ship. Hear me out on this. This is, this was a hard lesson for me to learn, but doctors and oncologists and medical providers, insurance, like they work for you. So, you can be put into the system and just do what they tell you to like, they schedule your appointments. You need this person, you need this person. You also have to learn to be an advocate for yourself. That doesn't mean to be a Karen. It just means it's, it's your body, it's life and death is literally on the table. And once you get to the other side of treatment, it is okay to ask and say, I not only want to live, I also want to live well, you know, there are side effects of treatment there. Like how can we help make this better? And because some people's job is just to make sure you're alive and that's good enough for them.


Brooke Clay Taylor (01:22:34):

And then really good doctors want to make sure that you're living a really great life. And so you get to be your own advocate. And you can do that as little or as much as you want. But you don't have to be a perfect patient. You don't have to be, I'm saying this in a, I don't want to come off as like really harsh on this, but like, as your big sister, like, you know what, as women we're like trained to be like compliant and kind and just like, don't startle anyone. Like don't mess with the system.


Katy Starr (01:23:08):

Don't ruffle feathers. Yeah.


Brooke Clay Taylor (01:23:09):

Don't ruffle feathers. Like this is the time to ruffle feathers, . Like, this is it, this is your opportunity. You've been training for this. Like this is the time where you get to say, hold on a second. I've been trying to tell that doctor for months that there was something wrong with me and he just ignored me and now I'm out here maybe going to die. Like this is the time to be like, hey sir, maybe don't do this again. Did you learn a lesson great. Like move forward. This is the time to say, hey, I had surgery and I lost mobility, and you know, in my arm because I had an amputation. Are there options for me? Because maybe, you know, physical therapy or occupational therapy is something that you could go into, but like no one's thinking of pointing you in that direction. So, this isn't the time to be good and perfect. It's the time to like take care of yourself. Put yourself first.


Katy Starr (01:24:02):

Yeah. I think that's wonderful. And I love that you, because you experienced that as you were going through it. You're like, okay, I need to be a little bit more, I need to use my voice. I mean this, this leads to be just great advice for anybody else that could be following in your footsteps and experiencing this, this journey as well. What do you feel like any kind of like words that you can share to those? I mean, because we talked about this a little bit right? About how those that live in kind of a rural lifestyle, like everybody here listening, you know, knows this because, you know, we have a lot of equine owners and so, you know, whether they board horses somewhere or they still have that lifestyle to be able to do that, it takes hard work, it takes grit, it takes, you know, dedication. And sometimes it's hard to ask for help. It's hard to put yourself out there and feel vulnerable in our community. So what kind of words, I guess, can you share with those individuals that may be going through this as well and that this is their, they're connected with you in more than one way.


Brooke Clay Taylor (01:25:16):

Sure. So we are just bred differently. We are gritty and hard workers. And I would say on our pain tolerance scale, we can probably tolerate, and I don't mean just physical pain, I mean emotional. Like we are just have a high tolerance for life because we're hard workers. Like we're out before the sunrises. We're working until like, we are just in this industry. Like we're just, we're gritty and that can be our greatest asset and also our greatest weakness. It's a weakness that, oh, I'm fine. I don't need to go to the doctor. I don't need to get this checked out. You know, for me, even last summer being within this medical journey, I was like, oh, I'm fine. I don't need to tell my doctor that I'm feeling this way. I had low hemoglobin levels. Like I literally didn't have enough blood in my body to like survive.


Brooke Clay Taylor (01:26:10):

And I was like, nah, I'm probably fine because I was being too tough. I'm fine. Like, I mean honestly, I said to my husband, I was like, I don't know, I felt worse. Well now now's not the time to be anyone's hero. On the flip side, man, this is an asset because when I tell you that this season, not just cancer life in general, you have to be tough out here to survive. Like this isn't easy. I mean, this is rough. You are poisoning your body. Literally. You are going through things that are impossible. I once told a medical provider, I was like, I don't know what they do in the armed forces, but it feels like maybe if they needed war torture devices, they should just put someone through chemotherapy. They'd probably get like all of the answers out of someone if they just did a round of that.


Brooke Clay Taylor (01:27:00):

Like, this isn't a great time. You know? And so I say that to say like, we are so equipped for this, you're so equipped to do hard things because you've done harder things. Like you've fixed a water gap during a thunderstorm. Like, okay, so you're going to be a little fatigued during treatment. Like, you're going to be like, oh, this is fine. This isn't the hardest thing I've ever done. I know that that sounds crazy and I sound like Coach Dale giving a pep talk in the movie Hoosiers. But like, it's not that bad because you've done harder things. But for the average person, this will be the hardest thing they've ever done.


Katy Starr (01:27:38):

Mm-hmm. .


Brooke Clay Taylor (01:27:38):

And that makes it an asset for us.


Katy Starr (01:27:41):

Yeah. That's so great. What, what advice would you do you have for those who are kind of looking to show their support? Like to their loved ones who've received their cancer diagnosis. I mean, we've talked a little bit about like yeah, the words we say, the words we use, but then from afar, but then also your closest support system because you've boasted about so much about how that's really gotten you through a lot of this is your support. So talk us through that a little bit.


Brooke Clay Taylor (01:28:16):

I think it might be tougher to be someone's support than actually the patient. Fact. I think that's got to be impossible for my support team and anyone's support team. But I would say if someone invites you to sit in the trenches of their trauma, they're inviting you. You're a guest. So first, as hard as it is, like don't make it about you. Like if you're going to cry, like cry in the shower, you know what I'm saying? Like, don't make it about you. Like, I know it's scary to you. And I've had conversations where someone just like, this is so hard for me and it's like, I didn't know that you were trying not to die, but I'm actually the one trying not to die . So keep that perspective. The second thing is I think we like to do things. We like to be helpful.


Brooke Clay Taylor (01:29:04):

That's who we are as a whole, as a community. And so two things to keep in mind. Your friends, your loved one didn't change who they are because they got a cancer diagnosis. Hear me out on this. Their likes, their dislikes, their humor. It didn't change. So if they liked something before, they're probably not going to like, unlike it now, if that makes sense. So if you're going to like gift to them something, like they never liked the color pink, but they got the pink cancer, they're probably not going to like the pink thing you give them. Does that make sense? Like the best gift I received was this really amazing blanket and it was like a southwest design and it was beautiful. It was turquoise. It had no pink on it. And I was like, oh, this is my style.


Brooke Clay Taylor (01:29:53):

Like, I took that to every chemo treatment. I still use it like every day I looked around because I thought it might just be here at my desk. So, and then that goes along with like, they, someone doesn't automatically become the spokesperson of whatever their cancer is. So this is going to be hard to hear, but I did not like, as a brand new mom going through a really intense set of trauma that I would be gifted onesies that would say, my mommy is my hero, or my mommy is so strong with like a big pink ribbon on it. I can attest my child never wore those. And in fact, I don't know what happened to them because my mom knew to get them out of my eyesight. Like, my hormones were crashing. So like it wasn't the time to tackle that. I would say that.


Brooke Clay Taylor (01:30:38):

So if you want to be helpful, if your love language is acts of service, I would say that the, the most difficult question that I receive is, or comment is let me know what I can do to help. Two things. It's so well meaning, it's so well-meaning and it's also wildly unhelpful because I am so overwhelmed if I'm in a place where I need help, I'm so overwhelmed that the idea of thinking about what you could do to help me is just impossible. It's just impossible. Like I have trauma and grief and I'm terrified. I've just got too much going on to be like... And I also remember, I don't want to be a burden. We don't want to be a burden. We don't want to be anyone's burden. So it is helpful if you could say things like, I'm planning to go to the grocery store on Tuesday. Is there anything I could get you? I'm available on this day. Can I come over and fold your laundry? I'd probably say, yes. Hey, it's August, you have a newborn and you're starting treatment. Can I come over and water your flowers? Sure. The hose is on the south side of the house, party on Wayne. You know, so maybe with our questions, be very intentional. And then the final thing is do not be offended if someone doesn't need you right now, they just might not need you yet.


Katy Starr (01:32:05):

So check in.


Brooke Clay Taylor (01:32:06):

Yeah, check in, check in on them. And especially if they're going through treatment, remember I kind of touched on earlier, it's a really long process, so they're probably going to get an influx of people wanting to be supportive at the beginning. But remember it could take up to two years, you know? Maybe check in later. Like it just keeps going forever for me.


Katy Starr (01:32:31):

Yeah. Yeah. That's true. And like, especially like when you talk about how, and this is me saying, because I have no idea how you're feeling about this at all, but you know, when you're saying that you don't look sick right now, right? You feel it. There's a lot of, there's a lot of stuff that's happening in your body even though you have your hair and all of that stuff. And we talked about this, I remember now we talked about this in, I think my interview that I did last year with the wonderful people with the equine therapy and all of that stuff. But like, you may not look sick, but you're still going through some really hard things. And so not forgetting that that person is still, they're still having to use a lot of their strength. They're still having to be brave. You may not see it as clearly as you saw it before, but then also, you know, going through like you're still going to be, you know, taking your medication and things like that. But just this aspect of like, you've been through so much, there's a, like, there's a sense of trauma that comes with all of this and that's something still that you have to try to work through.


Brooke Clay Taylor (01:33:47):

So I had a conversation with my aunt actually recently, and I was trying to put it in terms that might make it more relatable. And I don't want to downplay any service member's experiences. And I'm not downplaying it, but I want to make a comparison that might be easier for people to understand. So imagine your grandfather went to war, he enlisted and he was drafted or whatever and he went to war. My grandpa for example, has never talked about his time in service, ever. Because for him he had friends who didn't make it out. He saw things he never wants to talk about. It was traumatic. It was so much trauma. And then he came home and he just looked like a regular young man. He started a family, he had children, he went back into the world. But that trauma is so with him, his friends didn't come home.


Brooke Clay Taylor (01:34:50):

And so for him, it's so still ever present in his life. And those things are still with him. And like for me to tell you that, you're like, oh yeah, that makes sense. He lost his friends. Well I already told you today that I lost my friends and from my grandfather, he doesn't know why his friends passed away and he got to come home. Well, that's me. The medicine works for me and it doesn't work for my friends. And he doesn't look like he is a soldier because he is not wearing the uniform of a soldier. But he is still very much a soldier. Still very much a veteran. Well me, I don't look sick, but I'm still very much a cancer thriver. And so there is kind of a natural comparison or at least something to understand of that's kind of what it feels like.


Katy Starr (01:35:39):

Yeah. I think that's a good comparison. Like obviously there are two different things, right?


Katy Starr (01:35:47):

Your hard is hard. Like, let's not downplay that. Like your hard is hard and it's been hard. But yeah, that was, I feel like that was a really great way to kind of shift that and put it in a way that maybe people could understand when they see you today and what you're going through. Your support system, your husband, your friends, the people that have been there with you each step of the way. If you could say something to them now about what it's meant to have them here with you doing these things, what would you, what would you say to them?


Brooke Clay Taylor (01:36:24):

Oh gosh. Like, I just don't think there's a way to say thank you in a way that really encompasses how grateful I am for all the things they've done because I've made it impossible for them. And impossible in the, I'm kind of like a toddler. Like let me do it myself. I'm fine. But also I'm very clearly not fine. And gosh, just, I made a joke about this once, but it's so very true. Like even the foundation, there was a part of me that thought this was going to be “a them” problem. I was going to launch this into the world and you know, Jesus was going to graduate me before I wanted to and it was going to be up to them to not let me down. . And like the fact that I'm here and this gets to be “an us” problem, like I'm very active participant in the foundation. Like I can't even wrap my head around how cool that is. I just know that there are people who don't have a support system as wonderful as I have. And to put up with my dark humor , like they're the real MVPs. Like I just, I don't even, the hurdles I've put these people through.


Katy Starr (01:37:36):

Hmm. Well, and I'm really grateful that you've been able to have that support. I think that it's been great to see the involvement and they kind of feed into you, I think some of that positivity that that really, you know keeps you kind of lifted like that.


Brooke Clay Taylor (01:37:55):

I'll tell you that , my favorite thing about my support system and it's the reason I've left my immediate support system so close is there is no toxic positivity. Toxic positivity is when people are like, you're doing so great. Everything is fine. Just be happy and grateful and positive and you're doing a good job. Have a positive mindset. My people will look me dead in the eyes and say, yeah, this is terrible. This isn't good because we're not having a good time. Like, they meet me where I am and they allow me to sit in the fact that sometimes it's really hard. And doing that, validating how I'm feeling and not brushing it on under the rug is like the most important thing for a caregiver. This is going to sound really extreme, but I was having a breakdown one day and I told my best friend, I was like, I might die. And she looked me dead in the eyes and said, yeah, maybe. I was like, oh, she just acknowledged that. Like . Yeah. That like, but yeah, yeah, maybe. And she didn't lie about it. Like she just allowed it to be true because it is. And I know that that is so hard for a caregiver because to do that, to be a caregiver at that level, you truly have to put yourself second.


Katy Starr (01:39:16):



Brooke Clay Taylor (01:39:18):

And that's all we want. That's all we need. I guess I should say that's what we need in that moment.


Katy Starr (01:39:24):

That's so good to be able to sit in your feelings.


Brooke Clay Taylor (01:39:27):



Katy Starr (01:39:28):

You know, in that moment. I think validation of feelings is, is really important. And I think that can help you really push, push past things when they are hard. Having that moment to have that validation. That's so great. What would you say that you are most proud of in your life so far?


Brooke Clay Taylor (01:39:47):

In my whole life?


Katy Starr (01:39:52):

Obviously, I know you've gone through a lot, you've done a lot of things, but I'm, but I would love to know like, what kind of comes to mind when I ask you, like, what makes you so proud?


Brooke Clay Taylor (01:40:03):

I am proud every day when I, it's mostly in hindsight because sometimes they don't even realize I'm doing it. But looking back at previous version of my versions of myself, when I just show up fully transparent with the world, fully transparent, like the “real reel” is on the table. I am not trying to be anyone else. I am just being my true self. And I'm proud of that because I know that that is setting an incredible example for my daughter. That was good timing, Elsie. I was talking about you! Hi sweetie. Did you color this for me? Who is that? It's papa. This is Papa. That is so cool. Do you want I'm recording a podcast. Do you want us, could you do me a favor? Will you do remember the thing that mommy and Elsie say? Will you say it into my microphone? Do you remember what it is? I'll say it with you. Ready? Say I am brave. I'm strong. I'm so cute.


Elsie (01:41:10):

I'm brave. I'm strong. I'm so cute.


Brooke Clay Taylor (01:41:15):

Will you do it with the growl, say I am brave. I'm strong. I'm so cute.


Elsie (01:41:20):

I'm brave. I'm strong. I'm so cute.


Brooke Clay Taylor (01:41:24):

Thank you


Katy Starr (01:41:26):

Elsie. You're the best. You're the best girl. I love it. I love it so much.


Brooke Clay Taylor (01:41:32):

. So yeah, and I think that's honestly, that's what I'm most proud of because truly if I have limited time, I need to make the most of it so she knows that all of this is for her, you know?


Katy Starr (01:41:51):

Yes. I love it so much. and Brooke, this conversation today has just been the absolute best. I can't tell you how much it's like really fed my soul personally. And I really feel like our listeners are going to be very inspired and touched by your story and your tenacity and just your grit. And who you are trying to be in this world and for your daughter and for your family. How can our listeners stay connected with you after this episode?


Brooke Clay Taylor (01:42:21):

They can look for Rural Gone Urban Instagram, Facebook primarily, and then also Rural Gone Urban Foundation has its own standalone accounts.


Katy Starr (01:42:31):

Perfect. I'll be sure to put those in the show notes so our listeners can find it directly. Especially if, you know, we're so excited to be working with you and supporting your Love Bombs. Standlee's going to be doing that. And if any of our Standlee family out there, any of our listeners feel in their heart and compelled to share as well, we're going to put that in the show notes so you guys can be able to reach out to Brooke and team and support them as well. So Brooke, thank you for today. It's been really, it's ending, we're doing this on a Friday and this is just ending my week in such an amazing way and it's been so wonderful to talk to you.


Brooke Clay Taylor (01:43:11):

Thank you for having me.


Katy Starr (01:43:13):

We may not have a cure for breast cancer yet, but let's support the women in our lives to be brave and find their strength during this difficult season of life. Let's shower them with love and give them the best gift we can, to help them rediscover themselves, heal from the trauma caused from battling breast cancer, and build beautiful memories with their families. And don't forget to get out there and get your annual mammogram done. Remember, for every downloaded episode on the Beyond the Barn podcast, from October 1st through October 31st, 2023, we will donate $1 to the Rural Gone Urban Foundation Love Bomb grant program. Download this episode on Apple, Spotify, or Google podcast apps and share. Help us make a difference!


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