Jane is a ten-year survivor of a very rare form of cancer Myelodysplastic Syndrome. She has enjoyed several exciting careers including a librarian, counselor, teacher, and writer. She loves to write about surviving cancer, overcoming hearing loss, and her hearing ear service dog, Sita.
Sometimes all we can do it put one foot in front of the other to keep going.
Recently I was lucky enough to be featured in a newspaper article highlighting my books and telling about my journey with first hearing loss and then cancer. The reporter, unknown to me, interviewed a wonderful friend of mine who is a fellow cancer survivor. My friend said that I was a role model because day by day I “put one foot in front of the other.” As I read this, I realized that all of us survivors do this. And to do this is not only helpful with battling cancer, but also with life.
Years ago when I was working on my doctorate, I was told that most people do not get their Ph.D. because of the dissertation. I completed most of my course work in a year, but I kept putting off the important research project required and had problems getting started. I was told by a wise professor that. “You are not writing the great American novel. Just start writing something.” I finally did, and after many hard months of working days and writing nights and weekends, I finally accomplished my goal of being “Doctor Jane.”
This was an important lesson 20 years later during my cancer journey. After eight years of chemo, I am temporarily off any type of treatment except for taking Procrit shots. I was told by the Cleveland Clinic that they could be effective for about a year. Then there are two new possible treatments for my unique type of cancer. One is an oral chemo, while the other would make me so sick I would need to be hospitalized while on it.
You guessed it. Sometimes I lie awake nights worrying about what I would do, how sick would I get, who would take care of me and would it work? On and on and on.
None of this is helping me one bit. My friend is right — I need to put my head down and place one foot in front of the other until the next step needs to be taken.
This is true in all of life. I worried constantly about taking care of my parents when they were alive. We all worry about our children, if we have them. We worry about money, our jobs, our retirement and getting old and feeble.
People with cancer have to face this more squarely because we have reality right in our faces. I still think about what will happen if I become really sick. Can I afford assisted living? How would I arrange care?
Before cancer, I figured I had 15 or 20 more years to think about all this. All of life is uncertain and we can drive ourselves mad with our brains spinning like a top. We need to grab on to our faith, try not to overthink, place our heads down and put one foot in front of the other every single day. Usually it works!