Friday, March 9, 2012

Reflections on the Aftermath

March is here! This month marks the beginning of so many good things: longer days, warmer weather, the official start of spring. March of 2012 brought something more with it. It brought a wave of tornados that left behind uprooted trees, disassembled homes and structures that were stripped down to their bare foundation. Those directly affected were left with a range of emotions, including disbelief and sadness because life for them changed so drastically and instantly.

As I drove through my own community, I was struck by how similar the aftermath of the tornado is to the aftermath of a cancer diagnosis. Both come when you least expect them. Both sometimes have warning signs…maybe there was a spot or lump that the doctors have been watching or maybe you have health conditions that place you at a higher risk. Both have the potential to cause major damage… stately trees snapped in half and gaping holes in once sturdy houses with missing shutters, shingles, and entire second floors reminded me of the emotional, physical, and financial chaos that comes when you are diagnosed. Both are painful… and both provide opportunities to witness human resilience.

In the hours that followed the storm I witnessed strangers rally around those who were without a place to live. I heard about crews traveling from neighboring cities to offer services to cut trees, remove debris and patch houses. I saw how survivors embraced each other and encouraged each other to get through.

This is what I see everyday at Buddy Kemp. I see how survivors of cancer embrace other survivors and help them get though. I see examples of resilience in how survivors work to rebuild after the diagnosis and push beyond their grief and focus on restoring their health. I see how individuals rally to raise awareness, instill hope and live for the day when we can successfully eradicate this disease. I experience what tragedy does not destroy but what grows from it.

I encourage you to find your own strength and make today a great day.

~ Tiffany, Buddy Kemp Cancer Support Center

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