A Letter To Myself

My Dear You,

Checking in see how you’re doing, Laurie but I will begin with me, lol. First, congratulations on eight years as a cervical cancer survivor! 

I have been peeking back at 2020 as some of the fog is beginning to clear. I learned so much about myself and how strong I am physical and mentally. A knee replacement started my Journey of WTF.

I had no previous knee issues until now and there was no question that I needed a new right knee. I did my research and found the best team but no one talked about the dark side, and how the pain would take me there. It sucked! It was a lot of body and mind work but I had no choice and I kept moving forward, learning how to walk again. I was so happy I could lift my knee that I started marching! My physical therapist and I laughed so hard, I can still hear her words “heel toe, heel toe”.  Physical therapy was equal parts laughing and crying.  

Then there was more crying when I was told I needed a left hip replacement. Really? WTF!

I was working so hard preparing for my knee surgery, clearing my mind and focusing on this new challenge of a hip replacement when BANG!

Literally bang. An 18-wheeler semi-truck hit me and my life forever changed. I repeated these words: I am alive. OMG I am alive and I lived through it! 

I had to start all over with my knee physical therapy, then had the hip replacement but I smiled and lived! Then the damn concussion from the accident made me so dizzy and the ringing in my ears was unbearable. I stared brain therapy. There was so much laughing and fun but the physical therapy didn’t help so I went for an MRI. 

I have a hard time with this part of 2020. The doctor tells me they found a brain tumor… WTF?? The doctor told me it’s not a big deal as it’s outside the brain and it will be a two-hour surgery. I had to do another MRI with contrast in a brain MRI machine. I was doing good and no one seemed worried. Eric went with me to the pre-op appointment and I had all my questions ready. I thought I was fully prepared but I will never forget the words I heard, “Laurie I’m so sorry to tell you the tumors are larger and growing remarkably close to your main artery. You will need two surgeries.”  I cried but you know I still asked my questions! It’s funny what I held onto from that moment; I just remember thinking how cool that a 3-D printer was going to make my new skull plate! I had six weeks to prepare my mind and body. 

Cervivor’s Cervical Cancer Summit was my life jacket in taking my power back! You never know who will touch you with a word and I received so many words that weekend!

Laurie and her brain surgery team

Medical power of attorney, medical directive, living will; I had that conversation with Eric and it was healing. I printed everything and it sat on the table. I read and re-read it again and then I laughed and I filled it out. It was so freeing. Then I went and did something crazy: I harnessed the power of Wonder Woman and got myself a Wonder Woman costume to wear into the hospital on my surgery day!

I knew no matter what happened I was going to be okay. I have never told anyone this but I kept saying “no matter what I will be okay” as I was being rolled into the operating room.  

The first surgery took a lot out of me. It took me a couple of days to regroup before the second surgery and I had to really dig deep, deeper than I have ever done before.

This drawing helped me so much it. This showed me that I could do this.

Can you believe I had four surgeries within an eight month period? I am so grateful, blessed and I am not done yet! Thank you for teaching me how to keep laughing and living!

This also helped me with my digging out and moving forward and it’s pretty cool: Fear is a noun and a verb. Noun: an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain or a threat. Verb: be afraid of someone or something as likely to be dangerous, painful or threatening.

Fear is a feeling or emotion, yeah a mind bender moment for me.

I take small steps one at a time and I keep moving forward. I have a huge team of people around me. Some I have never met but they care and worked so hard to help get me here. I say thank you daily by living my best life!

Laurie, I am so proud of you and I love you so much! I can’t wait to see what you do next!

Love & Hugs, Me

P.S. Looking forward to your next letter.

Laurie is a 2017 Cervivor School graduate, a member of the Cervivor community, and Executive Director of Cervical Cancer Colorado Connection. Her resilience is truly insurmountable! We are sending her tons of Cervivor love and support.