Saturday, November 15, 2014

Day 39: "So, How are you?"

If there were three words more loaded with conflicting answers, I am not sure what they would be:

"How are you?"  

There should be a guidebook on how to answer this one. "The Dummies Guidebook to answering socially appropriate questions."  They need a special chapter for those of us with something going on. I feel like a deer in headlights when approached with it. Is it someone that really wants to know?  Is it someone that can handle full kahuna?  Is it someone that will understand "how I am" changes with moment to moment?  Or is it someone that need to reassure that everything is going to be ok?  I often wonder if it's socially acceptable to really answer "how I am" in an honest manner--do people really want to know? Some  days I am not really sure how I am because I'm still in the dreaded waiting place. How I am and how I want to be are two different questions. 

"I'm okay" covers a lot of ground with anyone going through something. It's also the lottery ticket out of a conversation if you don't want to answer the question straight up. There are some people you just don't want to get into how you are and then there are other people you need to buy them a new shirt because you've just blubbered everything out on their shoulder. 

So how am I?

I am beyond blessed. God sent me a freaking neon signage saying "It's going to be okay" that I will blog about at a later date, but it has put me in a calm waiting place rather than an anxious one. For any of you doubters out there.....there is a God, he does care, and I am confident in his plan..even when I don't get it. 

I am tired.  Frequently just tired. Mentally and physically tired. I love going out and being social, but it makes me tired. I am much more selective about what I do and whom I do it with because I am tired.  I often take a nap in the middle of the afternoon before my kids get home so I have energy for them. Because they remain my priority. If I don't take a nap, I don't make it past nine most days. I'm learning to manage my energy levels so I can do what want to do.  My body controls my life right now. I'm learning to surrender to its needs. 

I still hurt. It's manageable, but it is still there. My tumors sit on top of a nerve I think. After a day of working at the computer, my shoulder is a tortured mess of tangled fibers. I swear by acupuncture, massage and yoga stretches. And Advil. We cannot forget the Advil.  But I am rarely unaware of the parasite that sits on top of my clavicle. It reminds me daily that yes, it's still there and yes, I have to wait to get rid of it. 

I still get anxious, but each day it's better. I am not going off the deep end, even when I have a bad day and let it all out for everyone to see. If you want to know how I am, don't freak out if I tell you the truth!  :D  It can be a loaded question!  Ha!  I still swear by my walks and talks with God. The best advice by far I've been given is to pray for others during this time when my anxiety is overwhelming. It works. And I practice this. Life is more than just about me. Praying for others takes me outside myself. 

I am weak. While I am coming out of the toxicity of anesthesia, and my body heals from all the surgeries, I'm working on my fitness level, or rather what remains of my fitness level.  I ran about 500 ft for the first time. My first push up was an utter failure, but I am learning to modify and listen to what my body can do. This is especially hard for me. I just ran a 1/2 marathon in May and spent the entire summer doing a 100-day burpee challenge. I'm used to being strong, not weak. It's humbling. I wrote a chapter on this in @ChristWalk--Christ walk for where you are now. And that's what I am trying to do. No, my fitness level is NOT where I would want it to be, but I am plugging away with it daily. It's a journey, not a sprint. 

I am still waiting.  Waiting, waiting, waiting. I don't wait well. And because our life is not complicated enough, we are moving in three weeks to a new home and we are in the throes of managing movers, cleaning, and getting rid of things. We are registering kids for new schools, closing on a house, and still waiting to find out what they will do with me.  I still have far more questions than answers which makes "how are you very difficult" to answer.  There are so many moving parts in the waiting place right now. 

I evidently look good because people tell me this all the time. Like, "wow, you don't look like you have cancer."  I'm not really sure how to answer that one....how are cancer people supposed to look?  I jokingly tell my doc that I don't look bad because a) makeup is amazing and b) I still (STILL) question that I have cancer. If I hadn't read the path reports, I'm not sure that I would believe it cause I felt fine until they started messing with me.   But yeah, I look good. They haven't done anything to me yet, so when I look like a cancer patient, I guess I'll let you know. But this is a great lesson, we have no idea what people are going through solely by the way they look.  Makeup and clothes make for great armor around whatever you are carrying in your heart. 

I have a sick sense of humor. Gallows humor puts cancer in its place. I won't apologize for cracking jokes about my cancer even if it makes someone uncomfortable. When I can make jokes about death, dying, and cancer it allows me to face the cancer and tame the beast. It's a "take that" response. So if I drop my cancer into a conversation like a bomb, don't cringe. Let's beat that beast back together. I've learned my friends are scared just as much as I am. We aren't going to tiptoe around this crap. We are going to slap it down and own it. 

I have amazing friends and family. I'm certainly hoping I haven't hurt any of their feelings about the "how are you question" because EVERYONE asks this out of a sense of concern and love. I don't get upset when questions come from a place of love, even when I'm really not sure how to answer it.  People mean the best when they ask you how you are even if it makes you a little crazy to answer it. Some days you want to answer it with a four letter word or two, even when it's not polite to answer that way. It is what it is. When you have no control over your life, it's a roller coaster of responses. 

"How am I?" Is a complicated question. I am a lot of things. And it depends. It depends how I am at any given moment. It depends on what is going on around me and it really depends on how much you really want to know. 

That's how I am today. How are you?