So how are you? An easy question…or not.
I really never know exactly how to answer this question. How much should I tell? Getting transplants and living with chronic illnesses isn’t like healing a sprained ankle or lowering my cholesterol.
Do they want the truth? Would they understand? Is it just a courtesy to ask how I’m doing? Do I say good, fine, I’m getting along – just to avoid being awkward or to keep from opening up and crying?
Do I tell them the 8 additional diagnoses resulting from receiving three transplants? If I do, they might think I’m not thankful enough & I didn’t deserve the organs since I’ve experienced depression, don’t have a great quality of health, have sleeping problems, brain damage, get sick easily, have audio sensitivity, daily headaches, vomit 2-3 days a week, my kids are preoccupied with my health…
My answer depends on a few factors…
How well do I know this person?
How much energy do I have to spend on this conversation?
Are they the type of Pollyanna that tells me ‘it could be worse.” I know it can, and that kind of response shows me that they haven’t listened or can validate when anyone tells them that the world isn’t all kinds of sunshine and rainbows.
Do they really care, or is it a check off that they have “ministered to someone’ or shown “kindness”?
I try not to be negative, I really fight it.
I’ve had so many people from transplant recipients (who were out of the hospital in 10 days versus the better part of a year in the hospital), to church members asking me how I’m doing (while looking around the sanctuary at the same time and having to cut the conversation short because their family is hungry) to a close friend getting tired of me “being sick.”
I actually went to a dinner with friends and one guy was having a third glass of wine, saying that it was ok because that was what your liver and kidneys were for. This couple visited me in the hospital, brought meals and were our friends!
I never asked for this life, but it’s my “Option B,” ( read the book by Sheryl Sandburg & Adam Grant). My original marathon running, healthy mom, part time hairstylist life was taken away from me. Heart failure found about 5 years too late, followed by open heart surgery , then 2 years later with a heart, live, and kidney transplants with three hernias, brain damage, balance and audio problems, followed by much more was my second or “Option B” life. I don’t have the options opened to me before.
So…this year I’m not renewing my beauty license because I know I won’t go back to work, my job is taking care of myself, being a stay at home mom & wife I’m establishing a better sleep routine, improved nutrition – 18 days without soda- spending a lot of time with a pain and rehabilitation clinic in Greenville , reading and doing the exercise I can while working through neuropathy.