The Elephant in the Room is Cancer. Tea is the Relief Conversation Provides.

Dear Younger Self

by Karen CostaSurvivorApril 4, 2021View more posts from Karen Costa

Dear Younger Self,

Right now you probably think you know everything you need to know to navigate through life, and you probably think you’re invisible, but life will throw you some major curve balls and teach you some major lessons.

I understand you’re wishing time to hurry up, so you can be an adult and be on your own. But I’m going to tell you now that you’re going to need more help than you can imagine.

Life will look perfect and seem as though nothing can go wrong. You are going to marry a wonderful man who will make you smile everyday, you will become a mom to 2 beautiful kids who fills your heart everyday, and you will start off your career as a nurse. Remember feeling invisible? I don’t know what happened but life decided to test you for some reason and diagnose you with cancer. While you were trying to process the cancer news, 2 weeks later your daughter was diagnosed with Autism. You’re going to feel as though you lost control of everything.. your life.

I won’t tell you what happens, but I want to tell you 10 things to help you get through those tough times.

  1. Don’t. Give. Up. I promise those feelings of anxiety, uncertainty and hopelessness are going to pass. If they don’t pass, you will find ways to quiet those voices.
  2. Follow your gut instinct. If you feel like something is wrong, go with that feeling until someone listens. Your voice is a lot louder than what you think.
  3. It’s ok to cry and scream. This doesn’t make you weak.. it makes you human.
  4. You’re stronger than you think you are. There’s going to be times where you may not feel like it, but you are.
  5. You’re going to fall more than once, but you ARE going to get back on your feet.. even if someone helps you to get back up, that’s ok too.
  6. Repeat after me: It’s ok to ask for help! You may hate it, but it’s ok!
  7. There are going to be days when your day is going to be full of mom guilt, but know that your children are resilient.
  8. Slow down.. don’t rush through life.
  9. Find the good in everyday.. even the bad days, and celebrate those wins whether they are big or small. At the end of the day, those wins are what made you that much stronger.
  10. Breathe.

You will learn a lot about yourself and what’s truly important in life. Don’t give up when you feel like theres no other choice, you have the most important people believing in you. Even though life may have taken you on a different path, it’s the path that you’re meant to be on.. a path that makes you happy.


Your Future Self, Karen

Want to hear Karen read her letter? Click here to sign up for Perkatory on Thursday, April 29th at 7:00pm ET!

All of the posts written for Elephants and Tea are contributed by patients, survivors, caregivers and loved ones dealing with cancer.  If you have a story or experience you would like to share with the cancer community we would love to hear from you!  Please submit your idea at


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