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To My 5-Year-Old Self Who Hasn't Been Diagnosed With Lupus Yet

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Dear 5-year-old Kristiana,

I don’t know how to tell you this, but turning 21 isn’t going to be quite what we expected. Your life is not going to be a fairytale. You’re going to face some really hard times from which no one can save you.

You’re going to learn that what everyone says is true — life can be really unfair. But even more than that you’re going to realize just how strong you are, and how nothing and no one can or will ever take that from you.

You’re a fighter. Ever since the day you were born six weeks premature, you always have been; don’t you ever lose this trait. There will come a time when this fighting spirit will be the most invaluable thing you have and the only thing that stops your world from turning inside out.

Continue to work hard in school and throw yourself into anything and everything you’re passionate about. We accomplish so much and, despite the odds, this will never change. No matter what stage of life we are in it will always be a point of pride.

Don’t be afraid to fall and to fail. I promise you will always make it out the other side and you will always be better off because of it.

I know you’re a happy kid, but whenever you can, smile more, laugh more and take every moment not for what it could be, but for what it is. Celebrate the days you spend outside in the sun and appreciate that you live a life so free and void of limits.

No matter how you feel in any one moment, please know there are so many people who care about you and love you. One day, when you need it most, you’ll realize just how many there are.

You’ll understand that no matter how strong you are internally, it’s not a sign of weakness to lean on those around you from time to time. You’re not superhuman and no one will ask you to be – you can’t do this alone.

Look at your family and cherish them for everything they are to you and everything they will be. In 2016, those four will see you at your very worst, only to stand by your side and keep you together when you feel like you can’t do it yourself.

How I wish I could protect you and stop you from having to go through all of this.

Part of me feels as if I failed, like I could’ve done something, anything, to shield us from this outcome. But deep down I know there was nothing I could’ve done, and I’m not at fault.

I won’t lie to you; there will be times of darkness, times when the very sky feels like it’s falling and times when even tears can’t adequately convey your feelings.

But you will learn so much, and become so much more than you’ll ever know. And one day you will leave this world the exact same way you came into it — fighting.

My sweet, it honestly breaks my heart and I don’t know how to tell you this, but you’ve got a wolf following you. While he may be only your shadow at present, don’t be fooled by his patience. He’s been chosen for you, and when the time comes he’ll make sure you’re never the same.

This post originally appeared in Kristiana Page’s column “The Girl Who Cried Wolf” on Lupus News Today.

Originally published: November 18, 2016
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