how are you doing???

I was recently catching up with a friend, and the topic of how I’m feeling came up. This question and I have a long, complicated history. For several reasons over the years, I’ve dreaded it, and even now it continues to baffle me. How do you tell someone that everything is still pretty much the same, medically-speaking, but that life is overall better? How do you express that you’re working towards accepting your health as it is yet you’re in pursuit of 1-3 treatment options at any given moment? If I don’t lose them with my contradictory responses, I most likely will when they ask what I’m doing to manage my symptoms and I answer with a strict diet, acupuncture, and meditation. Their eyes glaze over and/or they think I’m crazy…and that’s where the conversation usually ends.

So, this friend and I are going through things and I’m trying to excitedly explain what’s going on and what’s ahead, and she meets my eyes and earnestly expresses how sorry she is. It was a kind expression of sympathy, but I was a bit confused. I quickly answered, “Oh please, don’t be; I’m happier than I’ve been in years!” She agreed that I seemed that way, but it’s left me wondering how successful, or unsuccessful, I am in conveying how I’m doing at any given moment.

The New Year, a birthday, and the nearly one-year mark since I was admitted to Silver Hill Hospital’s Chronic Pain and Recovery Center have reminded me to examine now and compare it to how things used to be. When I do this, I realize that practically everything is different. I no longer dread making plans with people, I feel a sense of control over my body and chronic illness, and I can clearly see wonderful days ahead. When I get up in the morning I don’t drag myself out of bed wondering how I can still feel so tired. I wake up well-rested even before my alarm goes off, and I’m ready to greet the day.

Things are not different because I got a new job, am in a relationship, or won the lottery. I didn’t get some miracle surgery that cured me and allowed me to fully participate in life. I didn’t even realize that my pain was something I fabricated and have finally moved past it after years of wallowing. Nothing in my life changed, except for absolutely everything. And by everything, I’m pretty sure I just mean me.

So to all who know me (or don’t) and wonder how I am, the answer is short and simple. I am happy.

How are you???

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