On December 17, 2013, my wife, Becky Baker, was diagnosed with stage IV metastatic ER+ breast cancer and given three months to live by the oncologists at Wake Forest Baptist Cancer Center. X-rays and scans showed that she had four compression-fractured vertebrae, three fractured ribs, a fractured sternum and stress fractures on her femur necks. The disease had traveled from her breast and taken over her bones, which were now brittle, like egg shells.
Becky knew she had been issued a death warrant. Few, if any, ever survive her diagnosis beyond a year or two. However, she refused to believe that the doctors’ 3-month time limit on her life, as well as their recommendation for “managing the disease.” Instead, Becky committed herself to fight this evil in her body in a natural way. After an initial radiation treatment just one week after her diagnosis, she decided to fight this disease going forward without the use of chemo, radiation therapy, or pain medication. Her healing path, she believed, was to be based on the four components of her life: Her Lifestyle, her Attitude, the Food she ate and her Faith.
So, she started LAFF2LIVE.com, hoping that her story would encourage the many other women (and men) living with this evil disease, to “take control of their body and to “Never give up.” And it did. Hundreds have been encouraged over the past three years. Becky lived 37 months beyond the three months she was given by the doctors, and up until her final few months, no one even knew she was sick. (The above picture with her love, Miss Penny, was taken 25 months after her stage IV diagnosis, and yes, that is her real hair!)
During these three extra God-given years, Becky lived with a love and passion rarely seen on earth. In addition to launching her breast cancer website, she wrote a childrens’ book, A Lucky Penny, (Amazon) that details how Miss Penny actually helped save Becky from succumbing early to the disease. She was also the Editor of The Clemmons Free Press newspaper, and was an almost-daily volunteer at The Carolina Pyr Rescue in Winston-Salem. She is, and always will be, MY HERO.
Like so many other women though, Becky waited to see her doctor until it was too late. Why? Because she feared what the results would yield. “Our life was perfect and I didn’t want to mess it up,” she told me when I asked why she waited so long. Realizing her grave error, she spent her last three years preaching, “Get your checkup, if something is off, get to a doctor now, don’t wait, do it now!”
My ultimate regret is that I didn’t see it, that small lump in her breast. If I had, I would have driven her to the doctor. Husbands, please encourage your wives to visit their doctor if you sense something is amiss. The only way to beat breast cancer is to prevent it.
Becky leaves behind her broken husband, her mother, Martha Tegeler, her brother, Dr. Charles Tegeler, her sister-in-law, Dr. Renee Tegeler and her favorite neice, Catherine Tegeler, as well as the thousands of prayer warriors around the world who had joined with her these past three years as she so bravely fought – and never gave in to – this evil. I miss you so much babe. You fought so long and so bravely. I rejoice that you are finally at peace now and home with our Lord Jesus Christ, your father, Charles, and your beloved Bob. I will see you again one day, when my time on this earth is finished. Your Rick.
(A sincere thank you to the staff at the Hospice and Palliative Care Center. Your love and compassion for my wife will never be forgotten.)