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Just Remember Not To Stop
February 08, 2020 – Jane Biehl PhD
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Just Remember Not To Stop

A cancer survivor laments not getting more done until she realizes she just moves slower, and that's ok. As long as you don't stop.
PUBLISHED February 08, 2020
Jane has earned three advanced degrees and had several fulfilling careers as a librarian, rehabilitation counselor and college teacher. Presently she does freelance writing. Her articles include the subjects of hearing loss and deafness, service dogs and struggling with cancer. She has been a cancer survivor since 2010.

She has myelodysplastic syndrome, which is rare, and would love to communicate with others who have MDS.
I am an overachiever, which is part of my personality. However, I do try not to compete with other people. I do not compare wealth, material things or careers. However, since my cancer diagnosis, I do watch people who have unbelievable energy with a tinge of envy.

I resent having to collapse and take naps in the middle of the day. I get mad at myself for sleeping in, when I feel like I should be up and around but am too weak. I wish fervently that I could travel and fly all over like my friends and family, or at least, do much-needed chores around the house without stopping to rest.

As all cancer survivors know, it is not only the lack of energy but the countless doctor appointments, blood draws, treatments and follow-ups plus all the normal appointments like dental and vision and physicals we all undergo that suck up our precious time.

Then, there are complications from the chemo, radiation and other cancer treatments; like additional dental appointments, endoscopic procedures, colonoscopies, breast surgery complications and reconstructions, MRIs, bone marrow biopsies and the diagnostic tests we endure just to keep alive. It is not unusual for me to have three or four medical appointments a week, all taking an incredible amount of time.

Since I am retired, I am supposed to have all this extra time to do what I want – right? I hate to say to people I am busy, but it is with medical appointments and stuff other than meeting friends for lunch, dinner, going shopping or to the movies.  If I say too much I feel like I am whining. I know I am doing that right now but I know many of you “get it.”

I walk much slower than usual because the oxygen from my blood cells is not getting to my muscles to move. My fifteen-year-old senior dog goes up steps faster than I do! Grocery shopping is a marathon so I usually order and pick up outside of the store.

Then, I read this quote from Confucius. It does not matter how slow you go as long as you do not stop. Confucius lived from 551 to 479 BC. When he quoted this, he couldn’t possibly have visualized the hectic, frantic, computerized and crazy world we live in today. Yet he told us this in BC!

Many mornings, I feel like throwing my covers over my head, not getting out of bed and staying there all day. What would happen if I just canceled my doctor appointments? (Of course, I do not want to cancel social plans.) But I don’t. I get up and put one foot in front of the other and walk S-L-O-W-L-Y. With my chemo fog, it takes me longer to even get dressed. Sometimes I go into the bedroom or kitchen and try to remember what I went in for, but I keep moving. Sometimes we need a day in bed and that is fine, we get up the next day. The point is that we haven't stopped living. 

We also know that going slower forces us to smell our brewed coffee, gaze at the gorgeous flowers and savor life even more. We have learned the quality of enjoying each day, rather than the quantity of all we get done.

So keep moving!
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