Letter to my Surgeon

After years of hemming and hawing, I finally sat down and wrote a letter to my surgeon. I am sealing the envelope tonight and mailing it off tomorrow! I don’t know if he will respond or if he will even see it, but it is a thank you that needed to be said.


Dear Dr. Ahmad:

You might not remember me, but I was a patient of yours in 2010-2011. I was referred to you after months of battling a flair like I had never experienced before. I was a 20-year-old kid who felt alone and lost in this giant world, without so much as a road map to guide me.

I remember our first visit in waves; never in full focus or with much clarity. You wanted to perform surgery and give me a temporary ostomy. I was scared–but not of dying–at least I don’t think. I was scared of what happened if I survived. I know that probably sounds crazy, but it’s as close to the truth as I can surmise.

To this day I don’t know what compelled you, but you offered your surgery pro-bono. You saved my life. I’ll be honest though, I hated every minute of that bag. I remember feeling powerless. I remember the bag leaks and the shame l felt, like it was yesterday. You were true to your word though, and it was temporary. So temporary in fact, that I never truly got to appreciate what that first surgery meant. I was so focused on what I had lost, what was taken from me, that I never stopped to think about what I had gained: faith. Faith not in God but in science and in humanity.

I have spent the last six years trying to write this letter to you. I think I have never felt worthy, like the things I have accomplished were not enough to make you proud or happy that you went through all the effort. I might not ever be the model patient, or save the world, but for the first time in my life I am proud of me and I have you to thank for that. I have you to thank for everything. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so I have included some pictures of the things that I am proud of. Things I was only able to do and achieve because of you.

After surgery, I re-connected with a boy I knew in second grade. A boy I fell in love with and married. That deep-in-your-soul, shout-it-from-the-roof-top, write-a-sonnet love, that I thought only existed in fairytales and Hollywood. After being told I would never have kids, I had two. Two crazy, full-of-energy, wily, smart, and handsome little boys. I went to college, graduated with an Associate’s before deciding to go back for a Bachelor’s. I even bought a house and started a career. I have lived and continue to live well. The hard times are surrounded by the good times, and I know I owe my success and family to you.

So thank you, truly.


Kayla Lauer

21 thoughts on “Letter to my Surgeon

  1. Pingback: Monday Magic – Inspiring Blogs for You! | Pain Pals

  2. Hi Kayla,
    Thank you for sharing this important letter. I had a colostomy for 18 years before it was reversed — I hadn’t thought that it *could* be reversed; however, the operation was successful and It’s now been more than 18 years since that reversal. As I have mentioned before adopting a vegan diet has been the most important way I have found to keep flare-ups down. I’ve yet to research how effective veganism is for other Crohnies though.
    It’s always great to read your posts. Wonderful photos 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bill,

      I am so glad you found something that works for you! Sometimes it feels like I’m just throwing pasta at the wall, hoping something sticks.

      18 years, that is incredible! On both counts. I feel incredibly lucky that mine was temporary. It’a weird looking back on that time now though, I wish I had known then what I do now. I wish I appreciated it a little more, if that makes sense?


  3. Kayla, this is so beautiful, vulnerable, and genuine. I got chills as I read about your life and your gratitude to your surgeon. As a physician, I can tell you that if I ever received a letter ten percent as heartfelt and chock full of inspiration, I would treasure it for the rest of my life. I have had a handful of patients give me similar, if not as eloquent and tangible, feedback. I treasure those memories. It makes the hard work worth it. Know that your surgeon will treasure this, whether or not you every hear back from him. Thank you for taking the time to create this wonderful missive of love and gratitude!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: 13 Things Good Doctors Wish Their Patients Knew - Creating Cozy Clothes

    • Thank you for sharing the link and for mentioning my letter as your inspiration! This was an extremely helpful and informative set of articles and I think the interview was awesome!!

      I wanted more, to hear more, to know more, to experience more of the stories you had to offer. I found myself cycling though my own experiences and what that might have looked like from the other side.


    • This is amazing, congratulations on all the blog success! It was a great article, and information that needed to be shared!
      As an update…the surgeon replied!!! He wrote me back 🙂


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