Dear Younger Self

by Karen CostaSurvivorDecember 21, 2020View more posts from Karen Costa

This article was in our December 2020 Magazine – Click Here to view that issue!

Dear Younger Self,

Right now you probably think you know everything you need to know to navigate through life. You probably also think you’re invisible, and nothing can happen to you or your family. Well.. 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, even though you hate asking for help.

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.
2. Follow your gut instinct. If you feel like something is wrong, go with that feeling until someone listens.
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. It’s ok to ask for help.
7. Your children are resilient.
8. Slow down.. don’t rush through life.
9. Find the good in everyday.. even the bad days.
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 you’re meant to be on.. a path that makes you happy.

Your Future Self, Karen Costa

This article was in our December 2020 Magazine – Click Here to view that issue!

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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