“How are you doing?”
A friend asked me the other day if I ever got tired of people asking me that question.
I said, “I’ll never get tired of it. It shows people care and that means the world to me.” I paused and added, “But I do get tired of how I answer the question.”
When someone asks me how I’m doing, I automatically reply with, “good.” And that’s the truth. Good is better than the alternative. It’s just that I’m not great. I was great before cancer. I was great a year ago. I’m frustrated I’m not back there yet and that’s how I finish my response to the question.
“I’m good, but just not great. I’m better. Sure, but I’m not where I was.”
The doctors keep telling me that it’ll come. They remind me of the high doses of chemo and how strong they were. They remind me of all the medications I’m taking. They remind me of how my body is still adjusting to something new.
I get it. I do. I’m happy to be where I am. But I’m not content. That’s just my nature. I can be grateful for what I’ve got but still demand more. That’s the mentally of anyone that refuses to accept mediocrity.
I do something everyday to make sure I’m staying on track. A couple of walks throughout the day. An easy bike ride every other day. Weight training two or three times a week. I eat well and stay hydrated better than most. Still, I get tired easily. Despite my best efforts with cardio and managing fatigue, I crash by the afternoons. Both my body and brain start to shut down. I have a hard time concentrating and all I want to do is lay down. It’s beyond frustrating. I never thought I’d know what mental fatigue is like but it’s there.
I’m constantly reassured by the doctors that it will come back. “You’re young but these things take time.” I’m young compared to others that get CMML. I’m no spring chicken. I’ll turn 42 this year and that weighs heavy on my mind. I’m not quite the invincible 25 year old I once was.
“In the grand scheme of things, this is just a blip on the radar.” What’s one or two years out of your life to be able to live another thirty or forty? The timing of it sucks. That’s for sure. I haven’t worked in over a year. I had over thirty clients before Covid. I have only been to the gym once in that year’s time. It weighs heavy on my heart and mind about how I’m going to try and rebuild my business after a year or more hiatus. I have some very good and loyal clients that have said they would come back. That gives me hope. But I know I’ll still have a long way to go.
I’m not opposed to working hard to make it happen. My heart is in the right place. I’m worried about my body. I can’t push it like I did years ago. I’ll have to be more careful. I’ll have to pay attention to the signs that I’m burning out. And I honestly don’t know if I’ll be able to see it. It’s too easy to get so focused on one thing that I lose sight of another.
At the end of the day, I’m good. I really am. I have gotten to spend a lot of time with my family. I’ve been able to meet some really amazing people; nurses, doctors, other patients. While I crave that return to normal, I know it’ll never happen. What has happened to me will forever have changed me. Through it all, I’ll keep going. Head down, do work. Resolute and strong.
“I’m good. But I could be better.”