When people ask, "How are you?" do you tell them how you really are? Do they really want to know? Is it just what people ask to fill in empty space and not knowing how to greet people? Am I just supposed to say, "I'm just fine, and how are you?" (Don't you just love that wonderful standard response "just fine".) I am faced with this problem a lot. Suffering, and that is what it is, from a chronic illness makes it hard to know how to answer people. Do you really want to hear that I'm having a good day? or Do you really want the truth?
I live with an invisible illness. I struggle daily to find a way to live well, even though I can't get well. My symptoms keep progressing, even though I don't like to admit that. I have a feeling the migraines and headaches I am now experiencing are somehow connected to my lupus. I struggle with saying that I have it, lupus. What an ugly word. It is ugly, there is nothing pretty about this thing that I will never be rid of. The symptoms are persistent and recurring. Remissions are possible, but only temporary.
Do you want to know how I feel now? Well, if you want to know keep reading. If not, then stop. Here is the truth right now...
This has been a long year so far. I have had bronchitis now three times. I have had long periods of pain and fatigue. I have had to find better makeup to cover the redness on my face. I have begun to have frequent headaches and migraines. I have been sick the entire month of April. Seriously, the entire month. I have filled 12prescriptions this month alone. This month I have had 2 antibiotic shots, 1 steroid shot, 1 pain shot, 3 antibiotic prescriptions, 1 steroid pack, 2 other prescriptions for side effects from all the antibiotics, cough medicine, nasal spray stuff, and my 3 regular meds I take, plus the different vitamins I take...what am I missing???...oh, the migraine meds I finally got. That is a lot, even for me!
So, back to my question...should I really tell people how I am? I know that some really want to know, but I really don't want to complain. I don't tell my husband how I feel all the time. Sometimes I only tell him so that he knows that I'm not mad at him or just lazy; that I don't feel well. I don't admit the severity of the pain, fatigue or other symptoms to my loved ones so that they don't worry. Come to my house...if it is clean then you know that I have really been feeling fine. If it looks like it does now then you know that I feel like crap. I do really well at putting on a good face when I go in public. You don't want people to feel sorry for you. You smile, chat, cry inwardly from the pain and for longing to be at home in bed.
I sometimes ask myself "how can I have actually taken care of my babies today?" I know the answer. Christ. "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength." By the grace of God I am usually able to care for my kids till my husband makes it home. God is good, all the time. He gave me these four wonderful kids, and He will give me the resources to take care of them when I am feeling "just fine".