Skip to Accessibility Tools Skip to Content Skip to Footer
Like a Hurricane

Like a Hurricane

As I wake up this morning, to power, to the sun, and to this amazingly beautiful day, I am quickly reminded about the power of Mother Nature and how we are so small in comparison.

Hurricane Michael

I live on an island off of South Georgia. Recently, the Florida panhandle was hit with a devastating Category 4 hurricane, Hurricane Michael. This hurricane essentially flipped an entire train. No one had much warning as the hurricane developed in the Gulf of Mexico and the Florida panhandle evacuated immediately.

For our island, our schools let out early and stayed closed as they tested the structure of our bridges. I can say, as I went outside the first morning, the wind was still blowing and we definitely still have some high gusts. We have debris in our yard, but that is it, such a blessing. This hurricane didn’t change our world.

But, Hurricane Michael is just another reminder of how fast life as you know it CAN change in an instant.

My personal hurricane: lung cancer

My world felt like it stopped in 2012 when I was diagnosed. Thinking back, it essentially did stop. Everyone around was able to keep going, but at that time, I realized I was no longer a member of the life I had built for myself. I had changed, and at the time, had an expiration date of 12-18 months.

Since then, I’ve been through 3 actual hurricanes! Just turning 33 when diagnosed with Stage 4 NSCLC, organizations, advocates and researchers, are constantly developing new treatments. I just read about a new drug for my type of lung cancer, Pfizer announced the FDA approval of VIZMPRO as a new first-line treatment for stage 4 lung cancer patients with the EGFR mutation, deletion of exon 19 and 21. Targeted therapy is just beginning to take off and I’m holding on to that through this hurricane season. A special thanks to the Bonnie J. Addario Foundation for informing patients like me of this new treatment. Sometimes, our oncologists are unable to keep up. This is our lives, we need to play a big part in our treatment as well.

So, I will be 39 this month! It’s really crazy when I think about it. I remember when I thought 40 was old. I’m not going to lie, what is my old age reference now? It can’t be 40 anymore! I don’t feel old (even though I take afternoon naps – no judging!).

Seeing the light through the storm

Stage 4 lung cancer came into my life like a hurricane or even a tornado, destroying everything in its path. It destroyed the job I worked so hard for, the years of college I put in while working full time, so I wouldn’t have any debt upon graduation. It changed my world forever, but not all for the bad.

The most important positive change was how close I became with God, followed by the time I get to spend teaching my daughter life lessons (like being herself and standing up for what she believes in). I’m also teaching her not to take life so seriously as I did. We all have this one life, and if you take it too seriously, you’re wasting it. Don’t waste it. Embrace it along with all the people that will come in and out of it.

Lessons from lung cancer

This beast of a cancer, my personal hurricane, hasn’t taken me thus far and I feel I’m one of the blessed ones that will hit the 6 year mark in November, which happens to be Lung Cancer Awareness Month. So, as I write this, I smile with gratitude at all of this extra time I didn’t think I would have. What does a 33 year old know anyway? Always look at the diagnosis, not the prognosis. Study it. Do your research from there. And maybe, just maybe, you can hold on during this hurricane that has just entered your life. Hurricane season doesn’t last forever. But it does come and go, and that is something we now live with.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.