Dear Louise


Write to Louise with any questions or problems you are looking for help with. She will get back to you and if you’re looking for referrals, Louise will help with that too. Let her know if you want your letter to be published on the site or kept private.

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Dear Louise,

I just caught the last ten minutes of Larry King Live on CNN, and then decided to read about your life. I just wanted to say that I was impressed with your determination and your strong will. I am currently suffering from Bell’s Palsy, which is nothing compared to your troubles, and a herniated disc in my neck. I have to schedule surgery to correct the disc, which scares me to no end. Surgery on an area around the spinal column just scares me. My wife is six months pregnant with twins, and I need to be strong, both mentally and physically. I hope I can be as strong as you, and I should come out okay. Thanks for listening and I hope you the best.

Take care,
Brian


Dear Brian,

Thank you for your lovely note. Congratulations on the upcoming birth of your twins. Of course you are afraid of having surgery, this is only natural. I am afraid every time I go in for a surgery. The first time they told me that it was very likely that I would get brain damage and was I sure I wanted to go through with it. I said yes. Then they told me another time that I would most likely lose my eye and it was a bad idea but I said to go ahead anyway. I don’t think any of our experiences are comparable and while you say they are nothing compared to mine, I disagree. You have a lot going on right now and it is important that you give yourself a break and a large pat on the back. People have surgery on their spinal columns all the time as well as major heart surgery and brain surgery. We don’t know anything that is going to happen in the next minute and life is a risk everyday. It is also exciting, wonderful and rewarding. Stay strong, stay positive and I’m sure your wife knows deep down that you are feeling anxious about having surgery. She is pregnant and I’m sure has her own fears about the pain of giving birth. She is still going to give birth as she knows how incredible the reward is going to be and you too know that after you have the surgery on your neck, with time, you too will be rewarded. I hope this has helped to give you some faith in your decision. Be gentle on yourself and remember we are not given more than we can handle even though at times it feels overwhelming. Good luck with your operation and good luck with parenting!!

Best Wishes,
Louise


Dear Louise,

I’m just writing you maybe for help. I don’t know how you feel about getting emails from someone who share what you’ve experience but I haven’t personally. My uncle who I live with was beat up and his face was broken. He had surgery but was unable to get medical treatment after wards as he didn’t have medical insurance. That happened ten years ago and he is now forty years old and he doesn’t go out. He doesn’t go out because of his insecurities from his face. I can’t even tell he ever had anything wrong but he sees it and you know your own body the best. I don’t know what I’m asking for, maybe for help.
If you could, please try.

Love always,
Lisa


Dear Lisa,

First of all your uncle is very lucky to have such a wonderful niece. It is hard to know what to say to the person who has been through the trauma when you don’t want to say the wrong thing, especially when you see that the pain he is feeling is mental pain. When you have seen your own face go through a change like that, and even when it is back to normal, it is, as you pointed out, because you know your own body so well. I had to do a lot of visualization work on accepting my new face, at every stage I went through. It was a time when I realized how judge-mental society is and that I was not going to let that run my life and determine whether I leave the house or not. You can’t make your uncle go out. You can help him to see that he is an incredible person on the inside and when he is comfortable with that, he will know that it will shine through his face. There maybe an organization in your area where others have gone through something similar and can relate to him and help him to see that he is not the only person who has been affected by a sort of disfigurement. There is always a solution if we become active in finding it and are clear about what we need and want from the situation. I wish you the best of luck and am very happy that you contacted me.

Take care,
Louise


Dear Ms Ashby,

I have been trying so hard to find your email address, have had a really hard time, almost ready to give up. I recently saw you on Montel and briefly on Larry King. Every time I see you I want to cry. You have inspired me so much, that every-time I think of what my life has been like the last ten years I just cry. You made me feel like my god there is some one out there understands. I don’t want to make this long as I know you are busy.

I am about to have plastic surgery and I am scared to death.  I have a family doctor who I have been seeing since 1992, he really understands the difficulty I am having and I am sure he is tired of my complaining and all the pain I have but he is good he listens. I told him that I am mentally ready, I need this taken care of and I think it would help my self esteem if they could fix it and take the pressure off my brain. So this is where I am at. I needed someone to talk to that might understand what I am going through and I thought that maybe you may be able to give me some advise. Do I go through with the plastic surgery or where do I turn? I still have the feeling of not wanting to live, I don’t care too much about my life anymore, I am terrified that I am going to have another aneurism and it take me this time, but then if it does then I am out of pain. I hope that this makes sense. I just want to feel healthy again, I want to look better, look normal. Right now I am not normal mentally or physically. I started working thinking that would get me out of this rutt I am in, but it doesn’t really help. I still have severe headaches every day, which is a constant reminder for me. Anyways I will sign off now. Ms Ashby you have inspired me so much, and I can’t stop thinking about you. I hope you have some insight on what I should do, and how to get away from this depression and things. I am on fifteen different kinds of medication and I don’t like taking it. Please, I know you are extremely busy but I hope that we will have a chance to chat. Thank you for taking the time to read this.

Sincerely,
Tina


Dear Tina,

Thank you for your very heart felt letter. I know that it all seems really scary right now but you do have the answers in you. Sometimes the way to get to that answer is to be very still and listen to your gut. You cannot change the past and the way to move through it is to accept it and embrace it into our lives. I too have felt fear and a dislike of taking medication and having my body go through trauma. I knew with every plastic surgery there was a risk but I also knew I had just been through something that had put me in this situation. I got through that and this was the next stage. You had your aneurism and are now in the process of healing. It is normal to feel the depression as you are grieving a loss of a sense of security you knew before this happened. Whatever you decide to do you will be okay. You are perfect as you are today and you will be perfect where you are in your life tomorrow. It sounds like you want to have it done but are afraid and so doubting your life in the meantime to find your answer. In time you might be able to look at an alternative to the medication for some of the things, with acupuncture or another eastern, holistic way.  Be Strong, you have come through the worst so you have already shown your capability. Thank you again for sharing your story with me.

Best Wishes,
Louise