This afternoon, sitting on the side of the highway in the midst of a severe thunderstorm,  the thought occurred to me that thunderstorms are a lot like terminal or life changing chronic illnesses. You have no real control over when they arrive, how long they stay, or how much damage they do.
That said, I firmly believe one has control over how they handle it. In the case of severe weather, all you have to do is have respect for the power of the storm, and take shelter to be safe. Be aware of what nature is up to and act accordingly. In the case of illness, your choice is very similar. You become aware of the illness, understand your options, and make your plans. Do you allow your illness to tell you what you can or can’t do? Or do you simply adapt to the restrictions your illness places on you and go forward as best you are able? I fully realize that there are times when the physical limits placed by an illness will preclude some activities. But as long as adaptation is a viable option I say take it! I’ll be honest – if I thought of dealing with a wheelchair at this point of my life, I would have said my son would be the passenger, not my husband! But it is what it is, and we adapt. I think about things that never before concerned me. Is there a place to load and unload if it’s raining? Is there a towel in the car so the seat and door aren’t so hot after being parked? Is the place we are going wheelchair friendly? (Side note – in the US there is a huge difference between ADA compliant and wheelchair friendly. If you don’t believe me, go into a handicapped stall in a wheelchair, alone, with the use of only one leg and try to take care of business without making a huge mess or breaking another body part. ) Is it a good day? Do you have all the necessary paraphernalia and medication? Extra clothes? Phone chargers? Medical cards, including a list of current medications? Sometimes, there are enough no answers that whatever the outing was it must be cancelled or postponed.Usually, if we just wait it out, tweak the plans a bit, we manage to do what we want to on our terms, and the various illnesses must simply come along for the ride.
Some terminal illnesses don’t like this approach, so they raise the stakes. They make it even harder for even a trip to the dollar store or one of the kid’s school functions. It can even make those things impossible, no matter how strong the desire.I can think of multiple people in my life right now who are dealing with a terminal illness, a life changing illness, or have recently made the extraordinarily difficult decision to stop treatment and let the disease do what it will; that “quality” outweighs “quantity”.

Many people call major illnesses “storms”.  I can see why, but I also ask why. Today’s storm is now over. It is history. This is where major illnesses are nothing like storms. They don’t become history – they alter the present and the future. From the time you hear “you have {fill in the blank}”, you are no longer just you – you are the cancer patient, the heart patient, the diabetes patient, the kidney patient, and so on. Your family gets new titles too – instead of wife, husband, child, grandchild, they are now wife of the guy with cancer; husband of the woman who had a heart attack; child of the diabetic who almost lost his legs; grandchild of the woman who had a stroke.

So my question to you this week is this – how are you weathering your storm? I was on the side of the road today, and I’m the first one who will admit I was scared. But I made it through, and I learned from the experience. I know, cancer, heart disease, arthritis, lupus, kidney disease, and all the rest aren’t usually considered learning experiences – but I think if you can learn from them how to LIVE in spite of them, then you are a pro in weathering your own storms!

Thanks for your time in reading this. Feel free to share if you so desire.

This entry was posted in awareness, cancer, depression, diabetes, disability, family, friends, humor, illness, life, lupus, major illness, support, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Storms

  1. Knot Telling says:

    Looks like we wrote on similar themes today!

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