Kelsey found Heart of The Brain through Social Media. She had posted about her second surgery with Dr. Liau on Instagram. It caught Isabel’s attention. They started communicating and then had the pleasure of meeting in person after the UCLA Brain Tumor Conference in 2019.
Kelsey Taveira, grew up Southern California. This vibrant and adventurous 30 year old was following her passion of working in Event Management and traveling the world. After returning from a life altering trip to Thailand (where she met her future husband), she was dining with a friend in January 2016. She suddenly felt dizzy and in need of air. She woke up in the ER at UCLA. She has no recollection of what happened, or that she suffered a grand mal seizure at the restaurant.
The doctors did a CT scan and noticed there was a mass on the right side of her brain. An MRI confirmed she had a brain tumor. The Neurosurgeon said the tumor was fairly large, but felt confident he would be able to resect it. Her surgery was scheduled right away. She was diagnosed with a Grade 2 Oligodendroglioma and referred to a Neuro-Oncologist. She was put on a “Watch and Wait” protocol, MRI’s every 3 months, but no Chemotherapy or Radiation. She asked about nutrition, supplements, homeopathic treatments, and or anything she could do to prevent recurrence’s 6. Her quarterly MRI’s seemed to show nothing new, and she was told to keep living her life, there was nothing else she could do.
She was put on Keppra, anti-seizure medication, for precautionary measures. She started doing lots of research. Kelsey decided to pay attention to her diet as she learned that too much sugar or too much alcohol or not enough sleep could adversely impact her health. Kelsey got married September of 2017, in Portugal, where she lives now. When she returned to the States for her routine MRI, her goal was to ask about lowering her Keppra dose so that she could start planning to have children. She had been feeling good the last two years and was eager to discuss her plans for her future. This time, her MRI showed tumor recurrence. Needless to say, she was heartbroken. Kelsey, was told to put having a family on hold. Rocked by the devastating news, Kelsey decided to get additional opinions. She took all of her MRI’s to several other doctors and hospitals. All agreed that she should do surgery, immediately, first to take out as much of the tumor as possible and then Chemotherapy and Radiation.
Kelsey was referred to Dr. Linda Liau, head of UCLA’s Department of Neurosurgery, and one of the nation’s leading neurosurgeons. When Kelsey met Dr. Liau, “I felt this loving energy. Dr Liau understood about my wanting kids and we bonded over motherhood.” Dr. Liau performed Kelsey’s second surgery in January of 2018. The surgery was successful but biopsy showed it was now a grade 3 Anaplastic Astrocytoma. After the surgery, treatment included Chemo (Temodar) and 6 weeks of radiation. The horrible news motivated Kelsey to do EVERYTHING she could to support her overall health and healing, get rid of her tumor and have a family! She continued her research, at her computer all day, every single day and found everything she could on diets, supplements, therapies.
In her words, “I literally do everything, honestly anything I can do. I have done it, tried it, I have met with everybody I could, all around the world. There is sooo much you can do. I could go on and on. I started blogging because I wanted to share what I knew could work, or couldn’t hurt. I didn’t know what was going to work, but I kept trying!”
At her last MRI, at the 4 year mark, her tumor had SHRUNK!!!
According to Kelsey, “The Oncologist who saw my last MRI looked like she saw a Ghost. She said she didn’t think it would ever shrink. She said ‘this is unbelievable, this just doesn’t happen. Do whatever you are doing, keep doing it.’
As of this interview, Kelsey is 34 and happily living and working in Portugal with her husband. She continues to work as an independent distributor for an international holistic health and wellness company as well as working with her husband at a yacht charter company in Portugal. She still does MRI’s every 4 months at UCLA. She is super excited to come home in June to receive her baby boy from their gestational surrogate! Her sister is also pregnant and due within days of her son.