Survivor Profile: Ursula Taylor
Ursula Taylor is a brain tumor survivor and a member of the Cancer Support Community Valley/Ventura/Santa Barbara. Prior to her diagnosis, Ursula was a practicing physician. She lives in Thousand Oaks with her husband and three sons and enjoys dancing and music – specifically Zumba, belly dancing, and violin lessons. Thank you for inspiring us with your optimism and enthusiasm, Ursula!
Finding out that my brain tumor was highly malignant was totally terrifying. For a whole week after the surgery, the answer still wasn’t back. In my mind, I was convinced this was a slow growing benign tumor, since it was huge. So when I found out it was “high grade glioma” I panicked. I knew this was dangerous and I faced difficult medical treatments ahead, if I’d even survive. Yes, going through chemo and radiation was awful, but also exhilarating. I got a chance to show how strong I really am, how much backbone I have.
Most thrilling of all: I’ve survived and thrived. After just 3 months I was back to driving and best of all, to the gym. What a feeling!! It’s like I got a new lease on life, starting over at 55. So far I’ve been one of the lucky ones even though I still face frequent testing and follow-ups. Currently I’m almost as fit as in my twenties and spend at least six days a week at the gym. My endurance is great. So it’s a dream come true, as I love the gym, dancing and music. Going to Zumba and belly dancing classes energizes me and lifts my spirits – a total high.
Besides my own efforts I couldn’t have done this well overall without the tremendous outpouring and support of my husband, his family, the Temple, schools, amazing neighbors…we received so much help, it was an incredible experience! I must also especially credit my amazing and skilled Neuro-Surgeon, Dr. Linda Liau from UCLA – she performed highly skilled surgery, as well as the UCLA brain tumor team, who follows me in clinic.
My husband and I go to the Brain Tumor Networking Group at CscVvsb once a month. We have formed close bonds with several other people there. Since I’m not working now I’ve gone to the Friday relaxation/mediation, which is very good and truly is relaxing. Knowing there is a center to go to, with warm welcoming people, is support just on its own.
I feel such gratitude towards everyone and the universe. Such an amazing experience, I feel so fortunate to sit here and write about this journey.
If you are going through the cancer experience, stay positive, relax and know you are not alone. Reach deep inside yourself and know you have the strength of the entire universe within your DNA. Researching treatment options helps too. Keep reading and looking for answers. Don’t give up, it’s never hopeless. Research is moving forward at a rapid pace, faster than ever before. Don’t focus on what you’re going through, but rather on the outcome you want and where you are going to. Live and enjoy each moment you are here. Take a deep breath and have gratitude, look up at the beautiful blue sky, the greenery, inhale deeply. Love yourself and know you are worthy of all good things in this universe, and open your heart to receive them.