I must admit it’s tough for me to write this post, to share with you passages from a woman’s very personal diary, a young woman who had breast cancer, fought it and then passed away. It’s tough because it makes me sad that Laura, a young wife and mom to little girl Charlotte, had to die. It’s tough because Laura had the same disease I had, and that makes me consider my own mortality (again). I also feel guilty, in a weird sort of way, that I’m living and she isn’t.
It’s all so unfair, the way breast cancer swoops in, takes over and does what it wants. There’s no changing it at this moment in time, I know, but I like to think that awareness is a pretty powerful tool for clobbering the disease. Because if we know about breast cancer, how to help prevent it, how to empower those who have it and how to honor those whose lives are lost along the way, we can surely make strides. And this is why I pay tribute to Laura today.
What follows are a few excerpts from Laura’s journal, each one included in the book “My Life with Laura: A Love Story,” written by Laura’s Husband, Chad Moutray. If you like what you read and want more, please order your own book right here.
And so we begin.
In May 2006, after experiencing breast-feeding difficulties, Laura was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer in her left breast and surrounding lymph nodes. She went through the “ringer,” she wrote, thought she was in the clear and then the disease can back.
June 8, 2006
I started chemotherapy today. More on that later, but for now, I feel seasick, mild headache between eyebrows, a little warm. Drinking lots of water and staying still. Numbness coating legs, feet, knees so a little wobbly. Loud noises are a little startling. Foggy brain.
Late June/Early July 2006
I have breast cancer, And now everyone else knows it, too, because my hair fell out and I have to wear scarves. But it’s okay because I’m getting better.
After a trip to the emergency room, a four-day stay in the hospital for low white blood cell counts, viral and bacterial infections and surgeries, Laura wrote:
I am learning to find a deeper peace with God.
Chad writes that things go well for a bit. Laura feels better, they don’t need to rely on volunteers as much and Laura does a little potty-training with Charlotte. Chad and Laura are optimistic. So are doctors. Then things go downhill. Laura experiences severe pain, suspicious spots are found on her hip and Laura has back surgery to fix a fractured vertebra. Her disease had progressed.
After contemplating the real possibility that she might die from her cancer, Laura wrote a letter to her husband, Chad. A few of the sentences she wrote:
I’d like to be creamated because it takes up less space, is cleaner, and quick/easy/cheaper.
If you want to remarry (which is fine, you deserve it), find someone who wants to be a good mother to Charlotte. Maybe someone who could give her some brothers and sisters.
Please let her be in contact with my family, even if it’s only once a year at the holidays if you choose to move away. They love her, and I want her to really know and love them, too.
On November 13, 2007, Laura passed away. But her legacy lives on in My Life With Laura: A Love Story, a book dedicated to little Charlotte, so she will forever know her mother.