Monday, May 07, 2012

How are you?

That's a question I get asked a lot - "How are you doing?" "How are you feeling?" - and I rarely know how to answer. Partly it's because I know that the vast majority of people can't really handle the answers. Partly it's because sometimes, I just don't know. And partly, it's because the answer is actually so mundane most of the time that it feels odd to say.

You see, physically, there's not much I'm feeling. I'm inexplicably tired, I'm run down a bit, and my brain isn't working at 100%, but I don't hurt. I'm not in pain. There's nothing to see. There are so few outward manifestations of this cancer that I look completely normal. Even during treatment, aside from looking a little sick and exhausted, I haven't looked like a "cancer patient." I have hair. I'm not wasting away. I just look like me, only more stressed.

Emotionally, though, that's another story altogether. Emotionally, I'm on a roller coaster. I go from being completely blase about it to crying in seconds, with the oddest things setting me off. I feel, very often, like my body is flying apart at the molecular level. All day yesterday (and I feel it starting right now), I felt like there was lightning in my brain - I couldn't concentrate on any one thing for more than a few seconds at a time. I have been making silly spelling errors (I'm a freak about spelling and grammar). I have been losing words. I'm not sleeping without medication, and sometimes that's not even enough. I feel isolated and alone, even though I'm literally surrounded by people supporting me. I'm scared and angry and sad all at the same time. I want to rail and scream and cry, but I want to be strong and stoic.

So, if you ask how I am, and if you really want to know, say so. Say, "How are you? Really?" But, if you add that "really" on there, please, be prepared for the real answer. Because, right now, I find I need to talk. I may be repeating myself over and over and over again, but I need to talk. I'm scared, and I need to process. And if we're face to face? Please give me a hug. Because when I feel like everything in my being is flying apart, I rely on hugs to hold me together.

I know, it sounds odd, but hey, this is me we're talking about, right? I'm pretty odd!


Jeff said...

I never ask "How are you?" unless I mean Really. Too many people ask and don't mean it. You and I both know that.

Remember the story I told you after Delaney passed. Right after I went back to work a co-worker asked me "How are you?" So I started to tell him. He freaked out and stammered. "I didn't mean to ask. . . I ahhh . . . sorry . . . ummmm" I just walked away shocked. Today I just laugh at people like that.

"The Positive People" cannot handle the reality that comes with great loss.

Kerry you are loved. Sending you a big giant Bear Hug!

Peta said...

Firstly - hugs, hugs & more hugs. I know how hard it is and that most people ask for their benefit not yours..they mean well, but don't want to know how bad you might be feeling, especially when you look "normal"(ish). I wish I could give you a hug for real, but hugs, hugs and more hugs.