Dear 9-year-old me,

It’s me, twenty-one years later.  It’s weird, I know, that I am writing this, especially since there’s no hope of you ever reading it – at least not at your age.  You are starting to notice it, aren’t you?  You’re not like anyone else.  But let me tell you this – it’s going to be all right.  Later on, you will start thinking if only you said something about your ears hurting in July 1984, maybe this could have been avoided.  And I don’t know, maybe you did say something, and it wasn’t clear what you were talking about.  You were only two and a half.  It’s no one’s fault.  Well, actually, scratch that, it’s cancer’s fault.  It’s chemotherapy’s fault.  And it is radiation’s fault that you have just started to wear a back brace twenty-three hours a day.

It’s not fair, I know.  It’s not fair in the least.  But it is just how it is, and you’re just going to have to trust God and be brave.  You can do this.  If you beat cancer, you can do this.  This is nothing compared to cancer.  This is, when you boil it down, life – your life.  It’s the only one you got and it isn’t forever.  This is who you were meant to be.  I know how much you wish things were different.  I’ve been there, after all.  But you have to be strong.  One of my favorite Bible verses is Joshua 1:9 – “Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous.  Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged.  For the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

You are never ever alone.  You can do anything and everything you set your mind to.  Don’t let anyone ever tell you no.  If they do, do it anyway and throw the word right back into their faces.  There is no such thing as “can’t.”  Look at you!  You survived cancer!  You survived viral encephalitis!  You can do anything you set your mind to.  All things are possible.  Aim high and dream big.

NEGU (Never Ever Give Up)


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