The Tortoise and the Race

Are you familiar with the story of the tortoise that took forever to get to its destination, as he was challenged by the surefire hare? The hare was busy napping and was so sure the tortoise would not catch up. However, despite the slow crawl displayed by the tortoise, it did beat the speedy hare. The determination needed for the tortoise to eventually get to where he needed to be is often the same as our day to day experience of living with blood cancer. The process we deal with is not about the speed. The end goal is survival, whereby the steps it takes in the beginning and the middle is a slow journey.

Get on your mark

Processing the diagnosis and dealing with the set of emotions that comes with it is not easy... quite frankly, it’s scary and exhausting. There’s no rule book on how or what to feel. You literally have to go with the flow of it all...good and bad. While you’re figuring this out, what always seems to keep moving is life. You may feel as though you’re slowly moving backward while life passes you by. Reality sets in. The kids still have to attend school, practices. Your job still awaits those reports. The house still needs repairs, and dinner still has to be prepped. Though life passes us by, we still find that strength to catch up with it. Though that tortoise was slow as molasses, it didn’t give up and paced itself on its long journey. Our journey is indeed a long one, too, and understanding and grasping that it takes time in this new life is a huge key to getting to the finish line.

Pace for the journey

Now, the tortoise needs to think about the necessary tools that will help maintain its energy as it moves towards that finish line. It’s a long stretch; the same is true when fighting cancer. It’s important to have that strength and mindset to move ahead in a very long race. The tools we need are not only water or a towel but often heavy duty meds. Yes, we get through with IV drips, radiation, and pills. Although these tools give us life, they also drain us, making the race even more trying. For many, we’re hesitant in allowing these elements to help us survive. Though we understand their importance, we’re also scared of how they may slow us down even further. It’s actually a double-edged sword because, on one hand, if we allow these factors to assist us on this race, they may bring us additional discomfort, make us feel ill, disturb our appetite, and make us fatigued.

Yet, on the other hand, it may be the light we need to beat our cancer and rebuild our internal system. A change that lowers high cell counts is a good thing and any good news that changes our thought process help us gain hope that we can actually beat this. Yes, the middle stretch of this race is the most trying, because mentally we have to believe we got this. We know we may have a shot; especially if we see positive developments that are proving we can do so. It feels good when we can prove naysayers wrong, and it’s really a waiting game on whether this will work out for us. It takes mind, body, and soul to move ahead for the win.

Finish line

Well, we made it through the lengthy treatments multiple times a week and bruised veins. Our system has accepted all that its endured and we’re at the final stretch of the race. It feels good to complete a treatment regimen and see positive developments, and though for some it may be minor or tremendous, it’s a needed ray of light. When any of us get to the finish line of remission, it is sigh of relief. Though there are the constant thoughts and fears of "what if we have to do this race again", because we just may need to. However, if we’ve endured the strife before, it proves it’s in us to continue on and beat whatever else comes our way. It’s tenacity and courage that always wins the race. We, too, are winners, such as this fine tortoise. Keep strong!

The time to fight is now, with integrity, grace, hope, and a smile….when you feel like it

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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