“I’m fine”…it’s the easy answer

Wednesday, hump day, middle of the week and typically a day that borders on the beginning of the week and the push towards the weekend! Yesterday was a busy day for me. I had appointments in the morning and then went to the office for several hours then fought traffic to get home to hop onto a scheduled weekly call I have with a client in California. That lasted almost two hours. It was a very long day…for me at least. Driving, meetings, office responsibilities, phone calls, etc completely drained me. I went to bed with a headache and woke up with a headache. Crazy. How does a day of work, that is no where near the pace of what I am used to and have kept up for years, knock me flat on my ass?! Today, I had every intention of going into the office again ( I’ve only been twice in three months) but I felt like I’d been hit by a truck. I could barely get out of bed. I wanted to curl up and sleep away the day. But I can’t curl up, thanks to my tissue expanders. I have to lay solely on my back with my chest elevated. Not great, not comfortable.

Now, truth be known, I don’t sleep very well. I’m lucky to get two maybe three hours a night and that’s sporadic at best. I went into my surgery exhausted and haven’t “caught up” on that sleep since. Not sure anyone actually “catches up” but I haven’t woken up “refreshed” in a very long time. I had two more scheduled conference calls today. Both calls involved talking with people that I haven’t had much contact with while I’ve been recovering. Everyone has been so nice. I am blessed to have the kindness, concern and support of so many clients and collegues. It humbles me. It touches me and it makes me want to be the strong, positive person that everyone has thought me to be…and that I most certainly want to be. Yesterday I thought I could take on the world and today it was all I could do to get through my work commitments.  All I could manage for dinner was a bowl of cereal. I was too tired to even make a tuna sandwich which has become my “go to” meal lately. How pathetic.

As a society, we adopt familiarities with each other. We have standard questions and standard answers that we use in everyday conversation. Typically when we see or talk to someone we ask “How are you?” and 99.9% of the time our answer will be “I’m fine.”  We all fall into that familiar repartee. It’s ingrained in us. We don’t even think about it. It’s a standard question and an expected answer.  So what happens when the “I’m fine”  answer isn’t what’s given? Do we really want to hear something different? If we do, what happens next? I can say from experience that since my surgery when asked how I am, my truthful answer would be anything but “fine”!  Scared, tired, frustrated, hurting, fed up, in pain, and a lot of poignant expletives… but really not fine. But “fine” is an easier answer. It’s the answer people want to hear..not because they don’t care, but because they want you to be. And that’s a great thing. But “fine” is a facade. It’s an answer that doesn’t require an explanation. It’s an answer that doesn’t require you to bare your soul to someone and divulge all the things that are anything but “fine”. So we answer as we’ve learned to do. And we smile and keep the wall up and pretend for the person asking and for ourselves that we are fine whether its the truth or not.

That said, next time you ask me how I am, I’ll look you in the eye and say…..yep, you guessed it….”I’m fine!” And you know what? I probably will be!

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tatacancer View All →

President of As You Like It Marketing & Communications Inc. Award winning speaker and author. Breast cancer fighter and blogger. I’m sharing my journey…the good, the bad and the ugly. Hoping to help anyone else that has been touched by breast cancer be it you or someone you know or love.

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