I Am Not Defined By My Circumstances

04/22/2019 By Jearlean Taylor

I am Jearlean Taylor, a Baltimore, MD native. I grew up in a loving family with both parents. I have three sisters and two brothers. I love to travel, model, watch TV, and spend time with family and friends.

I was diagnosed with a rare form of vaginal cancer (Rhabdomyosarcoma) at the early age of three. My childhood and most of my adolescent years would be at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in NY getting treatments and care. Because of cancer, I was forced to have a permanent ostomy, which aides my bladder and bowel functions that cause me to have an ostomy (bags) for the rest of my life.

My life has proven to be a journey of unexpected challenges, especially being a double ostomate. My outward appearance is one of beauty, high fashion, grace, and charm. My inward existence was one of low self-esteem, depression, and chronic medical complications. I found it hard, embarrassing, and painful to be considered “different”. How would I cope? How would I deal with what “life” has dealt me? I learned life happens.

Through my journey I discovered, I am not defined by my circumstances. It is now important for me to inspire, encourage and empower others, especially the ostomy community. I hope my story pushes others to come out of their comfort zone in sharing their story because everybody has a story to tell.

If I could change anything about my life I would not change anything, not even having ostomy bags. It has made me who I am today. I have endured a lot in my life. Who I was before and who I am now is a woman of strength. I am an author, motivational speaker, fashion model, cancer survivor, ostomy advocate, and mentor. I am doing well. I feel good, my health is great, and God is showering blessings beyond all I could have imagined. I will continue to travel sharing my story with cancer survivors, be an inspiration to the ostomy community, and give encouragement to those suffering from low self-esteem. I am still promoting my book “Pretty Girl Blues”.

In addition, at age 51 years old I still love gracing the runways and doing editorial modeling. Remember we are all different to make a difference. Live your life on purpose with a purpose and for a purpose.

GRYT is celebrating 49 years as a cancer survivor.

GRYT is turning my dreams into reality.

GRYT is being one of the top fashion models in my state in spite of having an ostomy (bags)

GRYT is being an advocate and inspiration to the ostomy community.

Editor’s Note: As of March 7, 2022, Jearlean is now 54 years old and continues to become more vocal and open about her experiences. She still continues to enjoy modeling and is celebrating 52 years as a cancer survivor. 

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