Hurricane Laura Barely Missed Me

Hurricane Laura Barely Missed Me
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I don’t believe I’m a lucky person. But I’m relieved that the area where I live escaped massive devastation from Hurricane Laura, which made landfall in the southern U.S. last week. 

Videos like this show the destruction Laura caused in Lake Charles, Louisiana, just 96 miles from my small town of Opelousas. 

I awoke before sunrise on Aug. 27, the day Laura made landfall, to the sounds of howling winds and rain pelting my bedroom window. My service dog, Zeego, who normally sleeps through anything, paced around the room nervously. He didn’t make a sound — no whining or barking. Still, I could tell he was antsy about the severe weather. 

I asked my smart speaker for the time, but it couldn’t connect to the internet, which was a minor annoyance. 

Grateful I had nothing bigger to worry about than an internet outage, I closed my eyes and slept a few more hours. 

The rapid percussion of rain on glass and the thundery booms were like a soothing orchestra. Minor stormy weather is like a  lullaby to me. 

***

I don’t believe I’m a lucky person. Not really. But the next morning, when I was able to fully appreciate how little damage occurred where I live, compared with the hardships my neighbors faced, it’s hard to feel anything other than fortunate. 

Is there some divine reason a hurricane missed my city by 90 miles? That answer is above my pay grade. Like the old man in Mark Twain’s “The War Prayer,” I wonder if fortune for me means misfortune for others.

As a friend pointed out, if Laura had hit the Louisiana coast 50 miles to the east, our area would have had severe destruction. Yet my city was spared. So, are we divinely favored, or just lucky the wind blew in our favor? 

***

I don’t believe I’m a lucky person. But maybe I turned out pretty well after my diagnosis of Friedreich’s ataxia (FA). 

The one-in-four chance that I would inherit the disorder from my two carrier parents is clearly unlucky. But turning 34 this year was a random gift.

FA is so random — the age of diagnosis, the varying symptoms, and even its longevity is different from person to person.

I have a loving support system, solid friendships, a fulfilling job, and limited but not catastrophic functioning and overall health. The thought of being lucky crosses my mind often. A larger number of FAers don’t live to see 34.

Although I have FA, I am doing my best to live in spite of it. It’s a random fluke in my genetic code. But the worst effects of this hurricane haven’t hit yet. 

I don’t believe I’m a lucky person, but I wonder if I should think that.

Please consider helping out my neighbors in the Lake Charles area here, a link that takes you to the Cajun Navy.

***

Friedreich’s Ataxia News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Friedreich’s Ataxia News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Friedreich’s ataxia.

Matt Lafleur was diagnosed with Friedreich’s ataxia at age 11. He has a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s in mental health counseling.
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Matt Lafleur was diagnosed with Friedreich’s ataxia at age 11. He has a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s in mental health counseling.
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