Going the distance

Don't run yourself over living in the fast lane

By Edward T. Creagan, M.D. March 30, 2017

Most products have a shelf life, a "sell by'' label.

This also applies to human beings. Basketball players wear out. Baseball pitchers have pitch counts so they can avoid arm injuries. Runners who over-train see a dramatic increase in the rate of injury. It also applies to you, to couch potatoes and weekend warriors.

Several months ago, I received a frantic phone call from a friend-of-a-friend. The caller was a high profile executive in a high profile corporation cranking out a 60- to 70-hour work week with endless meetings and emails.

Our caller developed an obscure intra-abdominal cancer which was aggressively treated with surgery and radiation, and then the patient was scheduled for approximately six months of intensive chemotherapy administered on an outpatient basis.

I shared with her that these are incredibly punishing programs. Just the surgery and the radiation would require months to recover, and the chemotherapy administered every three weeks could be profoundly debilitating. I wished her the best and asked her to keep in touch.

About two months later, I received an email from the caller. She was exhausted. She was completely drained and shared with me that she ended her work day at 6:00 pm rather than 8:00 pm. Give me a break! Here's a brilliant woman with impeccable credentials who didn't understand that she wasn't like a hamster on a wheel. She really needed to throttle back and take care of herself.

You're human beings with a finite amount of chi or karma, and you need to prioritize your energy. You can't be all things to all people. You need to recognize that no, despite what your parents said, the world doesn't revolve around you. You're special, but not that special and need to follow the laws of nature.


Edward T. Creagan, M.D.

Follow on Twitter: @EdwardCreagan

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March 30, 2017