Saturday, May 2, 2015

How are you Really Doing?

I want to preface this post by saying that I am putting a lot out here and being very real. This is not easy, but something I really need to do for myself and i’m sure other will relate. I was talking with a friend who wrote about this as well, and was the inspiration for me to take the leap. If you want to check out her post, you can do so here.

I get asked “how are you?” all the time. It’s a common question that we all ask. I get asked it a lot because I have chronic health issues. I have built so many walls in my life and don’t let many in my inner circle to see how I really am. My normal reply to such a question is “i’m ok, or i’m hanging in there.” There have been times when I really want to answer with, “well, do you want the real answer or the BS answer that will only take 2 seconds?” Can you imagine if someone answered that way to you? Would you really want to know the real answer?

So for those who want to know the real answer to how I am, here it is. I warn you, it’s long and well, kind of depressing so here it goes…

I feel like utter shit, and I mean utter SHIT! ( I say shit, as I would rather swear, but prefer not to do so on here.) There are days where I just want to hide and have no interaction with the outside world, but lets face it, that’s pretty much impossible. I have no energy to do anything I want, and even if I did have the energy, I physically couldn’t do it. I have had 10 surgeries over the years on my right knee, right hip (including a hip replacement), and also surgeries on my left hip (latest one was last Monday 4/27) with a total of 22 surgeries overall in my lifetime, and I know there will be more, it’s just a matter of when, and i’m only 31 years old. I have chronic pain in a lot of my joints. If my joints are hurting then all my muscles feel like they are on fire probably 75% of the day, especially at night. I developed POTS (Postural Tachycardia Syndrome) last October. It controls so much of what I can do and what I can’t. There are days that it’s hard to just get off the couch to go pee. When I stand my heart rate will jump up to 150 or more. When this happens it makes me feel weak, light headed, nauseous, head starts throbbing and won’t get better until I sit back down or lay down, and sometimes takes over an hour to get better. Oh and I forgot to add that I also have chronic nausea, and the dr’s have no clue on why. I take 3 meds daily just to help me feel a little better including 16 mg of zofran 3 times a day. By the way that is the dose that a lot of chemo patients are on. Even with all those, i’m still throwing up nearly everyday or feel like i’m going to throw up most of the day. Then throw in very low Vid D, and super low iron that I have to get a series of 4-5 iron infusions every few months or blood transfusions. My body just doesn't absorb either one and we don’t know the real cause. My health is so bad that my 2.5 year old has to be in day care or have friends/family watch her because I can't take care of her by myself. It could be so dangerous if I couldn't help her in the event that she got into something.

Oh, i’m not done yet. My husband who is 42 and was working at the same job for 22 years was fired over the dumbest reasons (won’t go into the politics of that). He brought in the bulk of our family income. He was denied unemployment (but we are appealing). Now we have stress of money and health. We are looking at relocating pretty much wherever he finds a new job since his specialty makes it harder. We are praying that something comes up that will be great for our family.

So there you have it. That is the longer version of “i’m hanging in there, or i’m ok”. Now my questions is.. Would you rather have me say the BS version or the long version?

As a society we don’t know what to do when someone opens up and really says what’s going on. We are so used to the answer of “ok, how are you?” and expect the same answer of “ok”. Then we either move on to other topics or walk away as it was asked in passing. What would happen if we just stopped and took a few minutes out of our day to really listen to one another’s problems? Maybe we should do that. Maybe it will help us understand each other more, where we can be more sympathetic and empathetic towards people.  We all have our issues, some worse than others, but even that is relative. Yes I have not had an easy life the past few years. I don’t remember the last time I actually felt ok, with no pain. One thing I try to remember is that I can’t compare my issues with someone else’s, I can’t say oh I have it worse than they do, so they better not complain. How do I really know they don’t have it worse than me? They may not be telling the real truth, but only sharing the BS version of it. The only way I will know how they are really doing is by asking them, “ok, how are you REALLY doing? tell me what’s going on. How can I help YOU?” Once we start doing that, we can really make a change in their lives and in ours at the same time.

So, I challenge you to really listen to someone and ask them what’s really going on when you know there is something behind the “i’m hanging in there.”

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No compensation was given for this post. I just wanted to put something on my heart out there. 


  1. I have a friend who deals with chronic illness and pain. She is my greatest best friend in the entire world and I still don't quite grasp her day to day life and what she deals with... and I know the ugly truth of it all. I wish I could take it all away from her. She suffered for years on dialysis after her first kidney transplant failed. She only suffered because doctors mis-read her husbands blood tests and thought he was not a donor match. After they were referred to a new hospital in a different state, the mistake was discovered. Those 3 years were awful for her. She wanted to just give up. She had constant kidney infections, failing organs, multiple medications and treatments. Iv port after blown IV port. Even after the transplant of her husbands healthy kidney; her wounds would not heal for an entire YEAR. She had to wear this skin vacuum thing and her legs swelled up 3 times their normal size. Im not joking when I say her inner circle shrank by 90%. Only me and a few others stuck around through it all with her. That's not a pat on my back or anything ... but what I'm trying to say is "yes"... the vast majority only want the BS answer.
    I believe this is because in a social media, texting, private messaging world, we just wants the minute details, a quick "Im thinking of you" and call it good. People need a hug, they need a shoulder, they need that friend to drop off dinner one night so the person and/or spouse doesn't need to fret over dinner while caring for the extra duties of helping someone with chronic pain and illness.
    I know you and I aren't the besteststesteststststs friends lol, but I consider us very close over the last 3 1/2 years. I am so sorry you are dealing with this and I wish I could take it away. I know I don't comment on all of your FB posts but I DO read them and I think about you a lot. And if for some stupid reason I don't see your posts in my Timeline for a couple of days, I stalk you down to make sure you're ok. I'm so glad that Darin is there for you. What a wonderful guy. To have someone to lean on and depend on must be a huge comfort.
    I have been praying Darin finds something soon. I wish he was in ALex's field cause he could probably get him an interview within in the week at his company. Let me know what Darin does and I can put my feelers out. And if you need ANYTHING do NOT hesitate to ask me. Hang in there love ... I'll always take the long answer, I don't need bullshit. :)

  2. I've been suffering from chronic pain for two years now, with no diagnosis and no relief in sight. I totally sympathize with you. People ask "How are you doing?" and you just suck it up and say "Fine" when you really want to just tell them the whole truth but you know that they don't really want to hear it. I feel so alone sometimes, like nobody understands what I'm going through. I know even my family thinks it's all in my head and they don't understand how bad I hurt sometimes, to the point where I don't even want to live anymore. My husband has been working six days a week for a long time, and then he takes off on his day off to do stuff with his buddies. I get NO help around the house at all, and I'm so exhausted trying to take care of the kids by myself (I have a 9 year old and a 3 year old) that sometimes I'm just in tears. My parents help out when they can but they are older and not in great health. I do the best I can to hang in there, but sometimes when someone asks "How are you?" I want to just scream at them that I'm about to snap and I need HELP! I just keep on smiling through the pain though and being Super Woman.

  3. I too have a chronic illness. I understand exactly how you feel. I'm on oxygen so it's pretty obvious to people. Due to my illness comes depression and anxiety. My husband sometimes acts like it is a pain to just help me put my oxygen in the car if I do in fact go anywhere. I could go on and on. What I really hate is when my husband is on the phone with somebody and they ask how I am doing and he says she has her good days and bad days. Hell, he doesn't know. You have my email if you would like to talk. Good vibes and prayer.


  5. I work with people with chronic illnesses and it is hard to see them suffering.

  6. It is so sad to hear of any stories with issues as this. I would love for happiness and healing to find you all

  7. I do not know you but coming across your blog entry, please know that you are in my prayers! God is so good even through the difficult times. Even when it seems that he is nowhere to be found or he isn't answering our prayers fast enough, he is always with us. His timing isn't always our timing and it's tough. It's brave of you to express how you feel and what your family is going through financially - read Philippians 4:19 (NLT) "And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus." Know that we serve a loving God who will not leave us and he will see you both through all of these situations. Also I am praying for a rapid healing after your latest surgery. If you ever need an ear to listen, know that you have someone here and who is willing/will be praying for you!
    Also, if you do not know of her, check out Joyce Meyer. "God has a plan for your life, and He wants to heal you everywhere you hurt. John 10:10 says that Jesus came to give us abundant life, and part of that abundant life is making sure you are healthy and whole—physically, spiritually, mentally and emotionally. God’s Word is medicine for our spirit, soul and body, and the way we experience its power is by speaking it out loud, praying it to God, meditating on it, and believing it. When you speak His Word over your life, it releases that power into your life."

  8. I agree that a lot of people go with the "BS" answer because they think other people might be dealing with problems that a lot worse than their own and so they think their problems are too trivial to bring up. I think being willing to listen and letting someone vent is a good idea, it's hard to keep everything bottled up inside.

    I'm really sorry to hear about what you're dealing with and I hope things will get better for you.