This is the last post in my blog series for those dealing with cancer or other illness. To read the first post, click here.
A few years ago, I sat across from my oncologist for my usual six-month follow-up. I had gotten a good report — good blood work and no signs of cancer. I always inquired what the latest research was showing for folks like me with triple negative breast cancer. I also asked what I could do to decrease the chances of a recurrence.
His answer: ”Don’t stop running.”
He knew that I was a serious runner before my diagnosis and healthy except for the cancer. There was no doubt this helped me get through the treatments and surgeries. I never completely stopped running during that year but certainly adjusted as needed.
It has been six years since I was diagnosed and I have since run an additional five marathons and continue to be physically active. Will I be able to run forever? Probably not, but I can continue to be active.
When I think back to his words, “Don’t stop running” I hear:
- Stay active, it is one of our best defenses against disease.
- Do not give up. Push through the hard things for the higher benefit.
- Remember what running has done for me. It has taught me endurance and how to finish strong.
- When the doubts and negativity creep in, run the other way.
More recently, I have had some knee pain and wondered if this would be the end of running for me. I first got help from sports massage and stretch therapy. I was faithful to do the stretches at home and my issues got much better. Then, I got busy and did not stretch as much.
And guess what? The knee issues came back.
I began stretching again, and I finally made an appointment with my primary physician who saw no major injury and prescribed physical therapy. That is where I am now, and I am making slow progress. Most importantly, none of those three experts advised me to stop running. Quite the opposite…they wanted me to keep moving!
So often, when faced with a diagnosis or a tough challenge, we just want to stop everything. However, the world keeps going and we have to make adjustments to navigate the best path for our life.
While we certainly must take the time to rest and heal during an illness, there will also be a time when we need to get moving. I encourage you to dig deep to find that thing that sustains you; the feeling that energizes you and moves you forward along your path. What does that look like for you? Is it working out, praying, cooking or meeting up with friends? Whatever it is, don’t stop _______!