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Jearlean’s Story (Rhabdomyosarcoma)

JearleanMy life has proven to be a journey of unexpected challenges.

I was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, Rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS), at 3 years old.  I was cancer-free a year after my diagnosis but left with permanent ostomies which aid my bladder and bowel functions but require me to wear ostomy bags for the rest of my life.

I found it hard, embarrassing, and painful to be “different.” Through my journey and faith, I discovered who I could be despite my medical circumstances.  My insecurities did not change overnight, but I learned to be a survivor.  We have the ability to make a difference, to change lives, to be role models, and to be all that we can be from our life experiences.  It is a blessing to have my desires and passions come true.

I have been a fashion model for over 18 years–yes, with two ostomy bags. To see my outer appearance, no one could ever tell I live with these adversities.  I am now considered one of the top fashion models in my state.  WOW!

My ostomy “bags” do not define me.  I am helping cancer survivors, inspiring ostomy patients, motivating fashion models, and encouraging those suffering with low self-esteem.  I used to say, “Why me? Why cancer? Why ostomy bags?”  Now I say, “Why not me?”  Just because you have difficulties in life doesn’t mean you can’t make it. I am not defined by my circumstances.

“Living my best life.”

Jearlean
Maryland
Submitted December 10, 2018

This story is intended to convey a personal experience and, because every person’s experience is unique, should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.

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2 comments

  1. Jearlean you are truly inspiring! Keep on doing what you are doing and sharing your story with others.

  2. Way to Fight Like a Girl, Jearlean! You inspire me to do the same!

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