Taylor told the Voice that he learned of his stage 3 colon cancer diagnosis during a routine visit to the doctor last August, and things moved quickly from there. Within a week, he had undergone a surgical procedure, and soon after embarked on six months of chemotherapy. The treatments wrapped up in February, he said, but it turns out that it takes a while to bounce back to normalcy and get back on the job.
There was a particularly tough period of time for Taylor and his family after the initial diagnosis, he said, where for five days physicians couldn't quite rule out whether the disease had turned into stage 4 cancer.
"I told God, 'Hey, if it's only stage 3 (cancer), I promise I won't whine and complain about the chemo,' even though I did end up violating that," he said.
Taylor has been on the Mountain View Police Department's team of school resource officers since 2011, and his turf includes the high schools. His tenure has been filled with building rapport with local teens to the point where everyone knows him by first name and no one bats an eye when a police car pulls onto the campus. Last year, Taylor received recognition as the "champion for youth" by the Mountain View-Los Altos Challenge Team for his ongoing presence in local schools.
During his time away from the job, Taylor said he was moved by the huge outpouring of support from the schools, including a ton of cards that he received, and people from the campuses and the police department checking in for updates on his road to recovery.
"We were always asking, either through an SRO or through the grapevine, to hear how he was doing," said police spokeswoman Katie Nelson. "When he came by he stopped literally in every office."
The department didn't have a replacement at the ready for Taylor, so the remaining school resources officers had to cover for him until his return this year. Not easy, Nelson said, given the size of the shoes they had to fill.
"He's one of those officers who, from the day you meet him, you know he's going to be there for you," she said. "That's a huge void to fill when he isn't here, but we all knew he was fighting."
Taylor said the initial diagnosis threw everything in his life up in the air, and not just whether he would return to work.
"I'm wondering, 'Am I going to die from this, am I not going to see my kids graduate from high school? Am I going to be able to work again?'" Taylor said. "It's a swirl of emotions."
The start of chemotherapy, of all things, was the moment when Taylor said he saw the light at the end of the tunnel, because it felt like he was on a path to recovery. While it will be years before he can declare with certainty that he's cancer-free, Taylor said he's recovered, back and ready to serve.
"My goal from day one was to get back to the Mountain View Police Department. It was something tangible and important to me," he said.
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