Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Storms on the horizon

Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma have caused a lot of destruction to the United States and surrounding areas. Many people have lost their homes and all they owned. It's horrible to watch the news and see the devastation.

In between the hurricanes, Mexico experienced an 8.1 earthquake. These are troubled times for many.

In Georgia, we felt no effects from Harvey but my daughter and her family did. They live in Texas. It was ugly. Irma was another story. We experienced high winds, heavy rain, and power outages. It wasn't nearly as horrific as Harvey. We are blessed.

As I write this post,  Hurricane Jose is brewing in the Atlantic but it's not projected to hit the U.S. and I'm grateful. We don't need another tragic event so soon after the last two. Hopefully Jose will blow far away from the states and dissipate before causing damage.

When hurricanes form, we have no idea where they're going until days into the forecast. Meteorologists work hard to give us the most updated information as quickly as they can but sometimes, it isn't fast enough.  All we can do is prepare for the worst and hope for the best...and that's exactly what it feels like to have cancer.

When I was diagnosed, I felt the strong winds of a mighty storm begin to blow. They were sultry and gentle at first but grew in intensity as the days went by. Although I couldn't see the storm, I knew it was there. I felt its presence. I knew it was coming. 

I did all I could to prepare but instead of gathering water and other necessary survival items, I began with mental preparations. I started to have conversations with myself about what the future might hold. I role played different scenarios and tried to determine how I would react to each. I felt more secure knowing I had a readiness plan in place. 

When my health storm intensified, I battened down the hatches and did whatever necessary to insure my survival. It was a challenging time. Some days were more difficult than others, but I was determined to ride it out. I wanted to live. 

I watched as the storm whipped and swirled around me. Powerless to control its affects on me, I found myself often huddled in a corner tears streaming down my face. The tears did nothing to comfort me although they did provide an emotional release. 

The storm lasted for 3 years. The intensity has ebbed and waned. As I listen to the news about Hurricane Irma, I'm reminded how I felt in the center of my own personal hurricane, cancer. The center of the storm is fairly calm. My calm came from my relationship with Christ. When the winds strengthened and the rains came, I held fast to the rock that never changes. 

The outer bands of the storm still sweep past me now and then, and often, when I least expect them. These bands contain emotional storms that build slowly and then explode with unbridled fury.

As my cancer hurricane has dissipated over the past year, I find myself doing fairly well in a continual state of recovery. I learning how to move forward and live a life full of rewarding opportunities. Some days are more challenging than others, but I keep plugging along. I find it helps to tell myself it's going to be okay and that I'm doing well.

Positive self talk is a wonderful self preservation technique and I'm finding as I practice it, I'm believing exactly what I'm telling myself. I'm surviving and not only that, I'm thriving! The storm is over and life goes on. And now I feel the winds of changing a blowin'. I wonder what God has in store for me. We'll have to wait and see.


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