Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Move Along

As I was going through some records, I came across a binder of Dan's medical history. He kept every insurance statement (even though I never understood who actually deciphers what they say), every scan report and every doctor's note. I read through the notes and the scans all the way back to his diagnosis in 2005. Of course there are the requisite medical diagnostics (height, symptoms, etc). But what struck me was the little details- the actual notes of the doctors' impressions of their interactions with Dan. I laughed out loud when one described his "faint dusting of light brown hair" (even that was generous). And I could tell how concerned they were with his situation. One called him an "unfortunate young man". One commented on his calm demeanor and outlook. Often these reports noted that the discussions did not completely center around prognosis, but rather, his golf game, graduate studies, family and travels. It was evident that his doctors felt compelled to remind Dan that the odds of his survival were minimal, but that they, too, were taken with his unfailing optimism and hope. Dan knew the odds, but he just kept going.

What always struck me about Dan was that need to keep moving forward. Or just keep moving. I remember reading in one of Lance Armstrong's books that after he was diagnosed, even after treatments, he would get on the bike or go for a walk. If he kept moving, he wasn't sick. Dan was always moving, always planning ahead and always scheduling things. If he kept moving, he wasn't sick.

I can't help but think that, on an evening like this, when the weather is warm and the sun is setting... he'd come home from work, and we'd head out on a run. He had been training for a marathon when he was diagnosed. Even though he knew he may never run that far again, he still wanted to run. So off we'd go on a little jog. It was never more that the 1 1/2 mile loop on a trail down the block. And it was usually only for 20-25 minutes, running for a minute and then walking for a two minutes. He'd tell me his lungs were burning. But he loved getting out. He even put a little training plan together to maybe get up to a 5k. If he kept moving, he wasn't sick.

I get it now. As with grief, you have to keep moving. If you keep moving, you won't get stuck. If you're moving, you can give yourself a direction. You're making a conscience choice to do something... anything. If you keep moving, you won't sink.

So I'm off to take a spin around the loop we used to run. Just to keep moving.


Anonymous said...

I'm about to go moving, too. A little slow going up the hill behind my building but great when I get there. I like Dan's philosophy--moving is living.

Love, Ruth

Anonymous said...

Thanks for keeping up the blog, Meg. When Dan was diagnosed, I had already purchased a plane ticket to California to watch him run the San Diego Marathon. Maybe he will run it in spirit this year. My heart still hurts. Cicily

Anonymous said...

Hi Meg and Cicily,

I went to college with Dan. I started running about 3 years ago, for many different reasons but one of then was because of Dan. I guess in a way I ran because he couldn't, but now I think I continue to run in a way to honor him. So far I've run two marathons and some day I'd love to go to to San Diego to run the marathon in honor of Dan.

Becky Arnold

Anonymous said...


You continue to make discoveries for yourself and for the bloggers (like me) with your reflections and analysis of what Dan and you experienced together, individually, and what you continue to experience now--and it is just so inspiring. Truly, every time I open the blog, I know there will be a little present waiting for me--some little treasure of info or knowledge or the chance to gain better understanding through the factual info or the narratives or just from the musings (not to fail to mention how often I am entertained by your witticisms and comic remarks). I appreciate it all. And here is the linchpin--something has been exchanged here--I've gleaned something from your blog that has kindled something in me that I am grateful for. What is it? Well, it seems to be that the discoveries you have made and are continuing to make are of a universal nature that is valuable to all of us; your discoveries are meaningful; they have value for all of us--we can apply what you have experienced and learned to our own lives--and if we do, we will be helping ourselves.

In gratitude,
cousin P

monster said...

Meg -- that's been my theory too -- not sure if it's just innate or that life dictates it -- but keep moving. And moving we are -- so sorry that we'll be so far away physically, but know that we're still here and with you emotionally/mentally.

And Becky -- I believe there is a group planning to run San Diego next year in honor of Dan, you should join then!