12 October 2005

How Am I?

Every day, someone asks me how GH is doing. We are lucky to have a large and caring circle of friends, and one or more of them always wants the latest news, a reassurance that he's more or less OK. I like this. I recognize that while people do care about the answer, often what they are really doing is showing that they care, that they haven't forgotten what we're going through, and that they support us. This means a lot to me.

My answer is usually short, because really, how can I answer completely? It's like trying to answer the question, "Oh, you were in the Peace Corps? How was that?" Where to begin? So I give people the answer that they need and the answer that is true (at least right now): GH is doing well, tolerating treatments well, still working, in good spirits. Thank you for asking and for caring.

The more emotionally savvy among the inquirers will usually follow the question about GH with a heartfelt, heavy eye-contact "And how are you doing?" Again, good lord, where to begin? And again, I appreciate that people ask, that they care. But a meaningful answer to that question is nigh impossible to give.

Dr. Best asked me both of those questions this morning. I gave him the usual answers. When he asked about me, I said, "I'm doing well, all things considered. Some days are better than others." He seemed satisfied, but he's also smart enough to know that I can't really give him a full answer, not as we're sitting there waiting to go in the operating room.

I sometimes wonder if people are surprised that I'm not falling apart at the seams, or if they think that I have a shiny exterior covering a disheveled mess inside, or if the fact that GH and I lead our lives as "normally" as we can is some kind of denial.

The truth is, I have no idea how else to live my life. It's true that on some level, I'm completely terrified making any future plans. I hesitate to buy our plane tickets for a trip in February. GH accepted the honor of standing up in a friend's June 2006 wedding with some trepidation. And the whole baby decision! I have to remind myself that even if the I end up a single mom, I have friends, I have family, and plenty of other people have done it before me. I don't want to let my fear stop me.

One last bit to add to this rather incoherent ramble: People give me and GH a lot of credit for the way we're handling his illness. People often tell me that they admire me, that they could never get through so well. I enjoy myself a compliment. But what I think people don't realize is that most of them would do just fine. They'd go on. They'd keep living their lives. They'd find strength they never knew they had. Because really, what else can you do?

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