I was in the middle of my normal robotic morning routine when the lyrics from “I’m in a Hurry” by Alabama popped into my head. “I’m in a hurry to get things done, oh I rush and rush until life’s no fun, all I really gotta do is live and die, but I’m in a hurry and don’t know why.” It got me thinking how I never seem to slow down. I go go go from the second I wake up and do not stop until I lay down at night. I can honestly say that I don’t know how to relax. I often wonder why. I wonder if it is because I missed a lot of my youth because of illness and I’m trying to make up for lost time. Or, because I know how precious every healthy day is and I try to accomplish as much as I possibly can in one day. Also, I think the busier I am, the less time I have to think and worry about things.

This past weekend I was reminded how important it is to get out of our routines and take a deep breath of fresh air. Noah and I spent the weekend in Napa, CA where we met up with dear friends from Pennsylvania, Denise and John Gilliland. Before we moved to CA, I spoke to a breast cancer survivor group known as, PINK. Initially I was intimidated to speak to a breast cancer survivor group, as I am not a cancer survivor. However, I quickly learned that we are all survivors and in turn are kindred spirits. After I shared my story, cancer survivor Denise DelGrosso Gilliland was the first person to come up and introduce herself. I immediately knew we would be life long friends.

Noah and I had an amazing lunch with Denise and John at the Culinary Institute of America. We took a bike ride in the beautiful valley. Enjoyed a fabulous dinner at Solbar, the restaurant at their hotel, Solage. It was a magical day. A snapshot that I treasure is when I looked to my right and saw Denise riding her beach cruiser with a huge radiant smile. I thought about all that we have both overcome and how special it is that our paths have crossed in life. We were both carefree and laughing with delight. As we looked over our shoulders our two understanding husbands were behind us taking pictures. It was a day that reminded me of how blessed I am.

The following morning at breakfast, Noah and I reflected on what an amazing time we had with our special friends. I had a realization that it was one of those days where I really got away from things, both physically but more important, mentally. I wasn’t at home to be distracted by things I had to do. I was away from my laptop, away from work. I didn’t think about doctor appointments or anything related to my health or PKD. That is what I call living in the moment.

I get my busybody personality honestly, from my father. I recently had a conversation with dad about this. He gave me advice that I will share with all of you. Dad said, “If there is any advice I can give you, it would be to slow down in life, because I believe if you don’t, it will catch up to you when you’re older.”

I hope this encourages you to find ways to slow down during your day and live in the moment.


  1. Vicki

    Thanks for sharing pieces of yourself every week. You don’t know how much it helps me to know there are other people out there that understand the “kidney stuff”. i just started my own blog this month. It has been great therapy for me. Check it out if you want : Mykidneysarebiggerthanyours.blogspot.com
    I look forward to what you have to say every week!

    • Valen Keefer

      Hi Vicki,
      Thank you for your support. Knowing this encourages me to keep writing every week. It means a lot! I like the name of your blog and thankful to hear that it provides a positive outlet for you. Take good care and I look forward to hearing from you again soon.

  2. Wendy Crowder

    Hi Valen,
    This blog was very good! It is true when we slow down we think. I often find myself thinking of ” what’s next.” After reading this blog my ” what’s next” has been positive. Because truth is sometimes I think we all have a fear.
    I can not thank you enough for taking the time to inspire all of us!
    Thank you

    • Valen Keefer

      Hi Dear Wendy,

      I am delighted to hear that your what’s next are surrounded with positive energy 🙂

      It is my honor Wendy. You hold a special place in my heart and I will always treasure that special day we met at Hopkins. I hope you are feeling well. xo


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