“Bravery is the audacity to be unhindered by failures, and to walk with freedom, strength, and hope, in the face of the unknown.” 🦋

This last month has been a complete blur. Only now am I beginning to realise the extent of the reality that faces me since being told I’ll be undergoing my 6th brain surgery in just over a week in Cambridge (U.K.), on the 18th April.

This will be the beginning of many more pioneering brain surgeries that await for me in the years to come, to attempt to fix the severe blood flow problems in my brain and neck.

The planned surgery is to remove delicate spinal bones that are compressing major veins and arteries at the base of my skull and top of my spine; specifically, my left styloid and left C1 transverse process. I’ve been advised and told that my initial recovery from this surgery will be at least 6 weeks.

Thinking that things couldn’t get any worse, I received a call from my US neurosurgeon a few weeks ago informing me that I have more serious instability problems in my spine that is compromising my spinal cord and explains the worsening of my symptoms.

I’ve been reluctant to say anything about this because, in all honesty, I think I’ve been in a state of shock and denial – I truly didn’t want to believe that what I was being told was real.

I’ve been continuing my day to day life, finishing off my thesis whilst working as a geoscientist, balancing osteopathy, pain management and other specialist appointments, whilst socialising and going out with family and friends, and keeping up with my gym and physio routine – trying to distract myself, to try and feel as “normal” as possible.

All my closest family and friends know how dedicated I am towards my rehabilitation physically and mentally, and being told that there are new problems compromising my life is beyond heartbreaking. To accept this is even more incomprehensible and I really don’t want to believe it.

I admit that I am scared of what lies ahead of me…the thought of what if I never feel better…and what if I have to live feeling this way forever?

This isn’t living, it’s surviving – but reflection is what has saved me.

To be reminded of how much I’ve already gone through, that my positive mindset and persistence has given me the opportunity to relearn how to walk/talk/read/write in just under a year, gives me the hope that I have the strength somewhere within me to get through this next obstacle that faces me.

That the impossible is actually possible if you just believe ✨

• Laura Lee •