I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking that I was born like this, that I have cerebral palsy, but the truth is much complicated than that. If I could talk to you, and you could understand me, you would find that out. Everybody has an unique story to tell, and mine is not one that you can guess just by looking at me. I would try to send you my story telepathically, but this is the real world, and it would be fruitless. So instead, I am writing this letter.
I am a cancer survivor. I do not remember anything about being sick because I was too young – not quite sixteen months old when I was diagnosed. Are you even aware that children get cancer too? People in general don’t like to talk about it or even think about it. It’s too scary. But I am talking about it. I am thinking about it every single day. Even though I am a survivor and I don’t have to think about it anymore, I do. Why? Because there are others. Every day, according to the statistics, 46 children are diagnosed. And every single day, seven more of them die from it. That is one in five children. Gone – ripped from this life and their parents’ arms.
Every day is a struggle for me because, even though I survived, something went wrong. I had two really bad ear infections that were left untreated. My doctors and nurses didn’t even know that my last chemotherapy treatment was indeed my last. I came down with a really high fever, and kept screaming that my legs hurt. I was two months away from turning three. My parents rushed me to the ER, but the doctors must not have figured it out in time. A viral infection called encephalitis damaged my brain stem. I had been right handed, but now my right hand was curling into my wrist. I stopped talking and swallowing and I couldn’t even hold my head up, let alone sit upright on my own strength. The doctors gave my parents the grim news: whatever I didn’t get back in six months, I would never get back. But they were wrong. I am, and will always be a work in process, at least as long as there is life in me.
There’s more that I could tell you, but I don’t want to bore you. But if you want to know something, ask me. Ask ME, not my parents or my siblings or whoever is with me. Talk to me. You may have a difficult time understanding me, but don’t give up on me. Giving up is the easiest thing in the world, and it’s not an option for me. It shouldn’t be for you as well.